Detroit Lions: Preseason Game 1 Film Review

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Aug 13, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions running back Ameer Abdullah (21) evades a tackle from New York Jets free safety Calvin Pryor (25) during the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Ameer Abdullah

Ameer Abdullah has been the worst kept secret of the offseason. Detroit Lions coaches and players can’t stop talking about how good the rookie has looked in offseason work so far. Lions fans finally got to see what everyone has been talking about on Thursday and Ameer did not disappoint. He is going to play a huge role in the Lions offense this year and could be too good to be kept off the field. In his first NFL action Ameer only played 15 snaps, but was able to show off his electric ability in his limited sample size. He finished the night with 7 carries and 67 total yards. Ameer isn’t just a big play back, he didnt have a single rush go for negative yardage and was a consistent short yardage runner.

45 Yard Carry

This is the play everyone thinks about when they remember Ameer Abdullah’s big night. Its a zone read play that gives Ameer a couple of cutback options depending on how the defense reacts. He presses the outside corner forcing the linebacker to set the edge hard, he then makes the linebacker look stupid with his sharp cut to the inside. He sets up the blocking perfectly on this play and shoots through the hole with elite burst. His vision after the line of scrimmage is very impressive. He takes the perfect lane to maximize this carry and shows off his big play ability. Another important thing to note on this play is how well the line was blocking. Larry Warford absolutely bodies his man on the inside and completely takes him out of the play. Travis Swanson and Manny Ramirez make a successful combo block and Swanson gets enough of the linebacker on the second level to take him out of the play. Even the wide receivers are sealing their men downfield. Run blocking was a huge problem for the Lions last season so this play was a great sign.

It’s like Grasping for Air

This play shows exactly what Teryl Austin is talking about when he was quoted saying(read the rest of the article here):

"“We can’t even tackle that guy,” Austin said without breaking stride. “We can’t even touch him. He’s like grasping at air.”"

This is another well blocked play, the entire left side of the field is sealed from the play by Riley Reiff, Manny Ramirez, Travis Swanson, and Michael Burton. This provides a perfect cut back lane for Ameer Abdullah, however Calvin Pryor does a great job or reading the play and shoots the hole to try to make a tackle. Ameer displays his insane change of direction and Calvin flies by without even touching him. This play should be a tackle for a loss and a big stop for the Jets defense to force a third down, instead the Lions got a first down and were able to score a touchdown on the next play. He’s an incredibly difficult player to tackle and a constant big play threat.

Zone/Gap Versatility 

These two plays show a couple of nice qualities that make Ameer Abdullah a special running back. The first play is against a loaded box and is a power man scheme run. He makes a cut to evade a tackle in the backfield and shoots through a tiny hole in the line for a short gain. This play may not look like much but it shows how instinctual of a runner Ameer is. He feels the holes in the defense and takes what they give him while being a big play threat. It makes him an incredibly tough player to defend. The next play again shows a sharp cut on an outside zone run, he feels the hole and takes what the defense gives him to still get a short gain on the play. He doesn’t hesitates or studder when he runs the ball, he feels the hole and explodes through.

Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Sadly, we didn’t get to see many pass protection reps for Ameer in the first preseason game. Ameer struggled in college with pass protection so it will be interesting to see how he develops that part of his game in the future. The team has been happy with his progress in this area and the one pass blocking attempt he had against the Jets was successful. He wasn’t targeted in the passing game but we shouldn’t look much into that considering the rave reviews he has gotten from training camp and how much the Lions have used running backs in the passing game in the past.

Overall, this was a great debut for Ameer Abdullah. He made some plays against a tough defense and showed Lions fans a little of what to expect in the coming year. He has so much natural talent for the position and should make a huge impact on the Lions 2015 season. If he can stay healthy he is a serious contender for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

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