Embed from Getty Images When he was selected by the Detroit Lions to spearhead the teams running attack Kerryon Johnson looked good at times, looked ho-hum at times and was injured at times. Enter former Alabama Crimson Tide running back Bo Scarbrough, who played well in games Johnson missed.
Kerryon Johnson and Bo Scarbrough have contrasting running styles, that could end up being the combination that solves the Detroit Lions run game in 2020 and beyond. It is a duo both are comfortable with. They know they have different styles — Scarbrough is a big, power back while Johnson is a smaller, shiftier runner.
NFL teams now include a construction of backfields, with teams now employing more than one running back capable of handling a large workload. It keeps them fresh and gives teams options if injuries arise. It could also help to avoid injuries as well.
This past season, the Lions saw Johnson rush 113 times for 403 yards while Scarbrough had 89 carries for 377 yards. It was only a two-game sample size as Johnson and Scarbrough played two games together the final two games of the season. But it was enough to see the two backs have a combination that can be difficult for defensive coordinators and the front seven players tasked with tackling them.
Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia has always wanted a solid running game with two backs well, both from his New England pedigree and also in his attempt to keep his backs healthy for a full season.
In week 16 against the Denver Broncos, the duo of Johnson and Scarbrough combined for 76 yards against the Broncos and 95 yards in the season finale against the Packers. It might not sound like a lot of yardage, but both averaged over four yards per carry over the last two weeks.
Next season, the Lions will enter games with two running backs who have proved they can feed off of each other. The team also has found they can grind time off the clock as a good ball-controlled offense should, putting the team in better position to win tight games.
This is part of the reason I believe the Lions will be better next season and win those tight games.