It’s clear if the Detroit Lions are going to be successful in 2017, they’ll have to win games without a consistent rushing attack.
It’s official! The Detroit Lions have the worst rushing offense in the NFL. Through 13 games, the Lions have only been able to amass 992 rushing yards as a team. That’s the lowest amount in the league so far this season.
But this is nothing new for head coach Jim Caldwell. During his stint in Detroit, the Lions’ rushing offense has ranked 28th (2014), 32nd (2015) and 30th (2016). During Caldwell’s head coaching run with the Indianapolis Colts, the rushing attack there never ranked higher than 26th. In fact, during his first season ever as a head coach in the NFL, his rushing offense ranked dead last.
The fact is Caldwell has never had a consistent running game in his entire NFL career as a head coach. Why would that change now? And why should it? Caldwell has posted winning records in five of his seven seasons as a NFL head coach, including 2017 as the Lions currently have a 7-6 record.
But many seem to believe creating a more balanced offense in the Motor City will be the push this team needs to get them over the playoff hump. And though many, including myself, believe a transcendent running back is needed in the backfield to spark the Lions’ rushing attack, offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter believes success will come from better overall execution.
"“Obviously we’re working through trying to run the ball better,” Cooter told the Detroit Free Press. “That’s on our entire offense, all 11 on the field, all us coaches, me being the leader of that. So we got some getting better to do when we run the football, but I’m excited to get Ameer [Abdullah] back on the field. He’s a good football player, and we like good football players.”"
Lions starting running back Ameer Abdullah is expected to return to face the Chicago Bears this weekend after having missed two games with a neck injury. But some have questioned if Detroit might be better off without Abdullah in the backfield.
So far this season, the former second round selection has rushed for 505 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games. Abdullah’s 3.4 yards per carry average is among the worst in the NFL.
Unfortunately, the Lions currently have no better options. In the last two games, veteran running back Theo Riddick has gotten the start in Abdullah’s place and has only managed to rack up 50 yards on 19 carries (2.6 ypc). Although Riddick has rushed for three touchdowns in that span as well.
It appears the Detroit Lions will not be improving their rushing attack this year. Let’s hope the arm of quarterback Matthew Stafford is once again ready to carry the bulk of the offensive load for the Motor City heading into the final three games of the regular season.