The Detroit Lions have struggled on the ground through the first half of the season. Will that change in Green Bay on Monday night?
When the Detroit Lions decided to address their lackluster running game this offseason, instead of looking at the position of running back itself, they opted to address their offensive line issues.
Pricey contracts were handed out to free agents like guard T.J. Lang and tackle Ricky Wagner in free agency. And so far this season, each has had mixed results as they continue to try and build chemistry with their new team.
As for the Lions’ running backs themselves, the onus of the Motor City’s rushing attack sits squarely on the shoulders of 5-foor-9, 203 pound Ameer Abdullah. A second round selection in 2015, Abdullah showed a lot of promise his rookie season. The Nebraska star rushed for 597 yards in 16 games that first year.
With a bigger workload projected in 2016, a foot injury limited Abdullah to just 18 carries for 101 yards over two games his second season in the NFL.
This offseason, with Abdullah returning from injury, the Lions’ brass opted to stick with their former high pick, hoping Ameer could fulfill the potential he showed through his first two seasons in Detroit.
Yet, this year, the Lions running game continues to struggle. Currently ranked dead last in the NFL following Week Nine’s action over the weekend, Detroit has only been able to muster 575 yards total on the ground through seven games. And their inability to generate a consistent rushing attack accounted for a lot of their redzone woes in their recent loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Inconsistent play and injuries along the Lions’ offensive line certainly haven’t helped matters. But Abdullah hasn’t been able to generate much on his own either. Through seven games, Detroit’s starting running back has ran for just 369 yards on 101 carries. That’s a 3.7 yards per carry average, the lowest of Ameer’s three-year career.
The Lions’ coaching staff doesn’t seem have much faith in this running attack either, as they will opt to pass the ball when the offense struggles in even the smallest of ways. So Abdullah isn’t getting many chances to run. And when he does, he’s squandering those limited opportunities.
But that could change Monday night, as Detroit’s rushing attack has a favorable matchup against the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau. The Aaron Rodgers-less Packers come into this contest allowing over 125 rushing yards a game. If the Lions are willing to stick with their rushing attack against Green Bay, this could finally be the breakout game Ameer Abdullah has needed all season.