The Detroit Lions running game hasn’t been good for a while now, thanks to many problems. Ameer Abdullah has shown that he might not be needed to fix it.
After the loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, the Detroit Lions have now lost back-to-back games and sit at 6-6. The bright playoff chances when the season was young get dimmer and dimmer every day.
One major factor towards these struggles is the Lions running game, or the lack thereof for that matter. They currently rank 30th in the league in yards and yards per attempt, and 27th in rushing touchdowns (4).
The Lions have not had a 100-yard rusher since Thanksgiving of 2013, and there are no signs of another one happening any time soon.
Hopeful Lions fans always cite running back Ameer Abdullah as the running back with the best chance of breaking the 100-yard drought, viewing him as the beacon of hope in a rather dreary running game. But so far Abdullah has not lived up to his hype as the Messiah of the Detroit running game.
Abdullah rushed for 597 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2015, and has reached almost the same amount of yards and 1 touchdown in 11 games this season, which are numbers that pretty much average for starting running backs, if not slightly below average.
While Abdullah has never really had a good offensive line, that’s not an excuse at this point in his career. After 3 years in the NFL, Abdullah has shown to be not only be injury-prone, but lacks big-play ability, as he’s never had a run of more than 36 yards in his career.
Abdullah missed most of the 2016 season due to a foot injury, missing out on an entire season of development and gaining him a injury-prone reputation he hasn’t shook his whole career. He missed the Baltimore Ravens game Sunday with a neck injury, and the Lions rushing attack didn’t appear to miss him that much.
Without Abdullah, the Lions put up 78 rushing yards. That’s still not a good amount of rushing by any team’s standards, but the Lions offense have averaged 78 yards per game this season with Abdullah playing. So the question has to be asked: Do the Lions need Ameer Abdullah?
The rushing attack didn’t look that bad today, even after the Lions lost starting right tackle Rick Wagner in the first half. In his first regular season NFL game, running back Tion Green looked decent, running for 51 yards and averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
Green’s game, along with small contributions from fellow running backs Theo Riddick and Zach Zenner gave the Lions a running game that was at least competent. In other words, a lot of things went wrong for the Lions today, but they didn’t seem to miss Abdullah much.
I’m not saying that Abdullah is the main problem with the running game, as that ultimately boils down to a scheme that clearly isn’t working and offensive line that hasn’t been healthy and good in a long time.
But Abdullah becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2019, and if the Lions running game can look just as good without Abdullah as it does with it, he is not worth any sort of contract extension.
The Detroit Lions have some serious decisions to make with the Nebraska Alum, as running backs can be found in the late rounds in the draft, and Ameer Abdullah may not be worth the injury risk anymore.