Detroit Lions: Who should be the starting kick returner?
A work in progress might be an understatement regarding the Detroit Lions’ kickoff return unit. Luckily, they have someone who could potentially turn it around.
Since the preseason, Dwayne Washington has yet to seize the kickoff return job. Plenty of opportunities have been given to him by the Detroit Lions coaching staff, but how long can they play these games?
Having blazing speed sure comes in handy, but what good is it going to do if that is all you have to offer? Being a good returner has more to do with making good decisions as well as excellent vision.
So far to this point, Washington has yet to exhibit some of the most important qualities needed to being a solid return man. Rookie Jamal Agnew looked slightly better in relief duty, but his focus needs to be on defense and punt return.
You might be wondering, what should the Lions do? Well, I just so happen to think there’s another running back on the roster that would make an excellent returner, should he be given the opportunity.
No, not Ameer Abdullah. That would be the easiest answer. Detroit is more focused using him on offense so he won’t see the field there. Same goes for Theo Riddick.
So that leaves only one running back left. Enter Zach Zenner.
Once again, the Lions are failing to utilize him. This guy deserves playing time and he has earned it.
Wait, why at kick returner though? Simple, I’ll break it down.
Certainly not known to be a flashy player, Zenner has all the tools necessary to succeed as a running back and returner. Understandably, Detroit is trying to get a return on their investments (Abdullah, 2nd round pick in 2015; Riddick, $2.4 million dollar cap hit). No pun intended there.
Combined with the traits I already mentioned, Zenner also posses great yards after contact ability. Throw in some underrated make-you-miss open field moves and sneaky breakaway speed, and that makes for one helluva returner.
Should the third year running back be inactive for a second consecutive week, I guess we’ll have to wait til Week 3 for him to show his stuff. Ideally that’s when most likely to happen, if ever.
Next: ESPN analysts aren’t the only Detroit Lion doubters
Sooner than later, Zenner will show everyone why he should be dressed, ready for game action and earning snaps on the field. Now him being the starting running back is a topic I’ll save for another day (refer to my second article as a SideLion Report contributor). Oh wait…