One of the areas new Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia will need to address in the Motor City is a poor rushing attack. Could he turn to a familiar face in order to do so?
The Detroit Lions are responsible for two of the worst kept secrets in the NFL. First, that New England Patroits’ defensive coordinator Matt Patricia will become the next head coach of the Lions following the Super Bowl this Sunday. And second, that Detroit will be adding a running back or two to their roster this offseason.
The Motor City failed to get any traction last season, ranking dead last in the league in rushing offense. And that’s despite some heavy investments made by the Detroit brass into their offensive line last offseason.
Pricey veterans like Pro Bowl right guard T.J. Lang and right tackle Ricky Wagner were brought in to bring stability to this often shaky unit. Instead, injures ravaged the O-Line in 2017, which often resulted in a different patchwork lineup being placed on the field every week.
To make matters worse, the Lions didn’t have a true workhorse running back on their roster to carry the load. They thought they had one in former second rounder Ameer Abdullah. But the third-year runner only provided more ammo for his naysayers who claim the 24-year is nothing more than a change-of-pace back. And the Lions already have one of those, and a better one, in Theo Riddick.
Detroit needs new blood at the running back position. And many seem to believe the Lions will find their thoroughbred via the upcoming NFL draft. And there will certainly be many prospects to choose from.
But before the draft kicks off in late April, the Lions might find themselves a new starting running back in free agency. One with ties to the team’s new head coach.
"“… Dion Lewis is a free agent and could be an intriguing one for the Lions,” wrote Michael Rothstein, a staff writer for ESPN.com. “He won’t be super expensive, won’t turn 28 until September and has averaged at least 4.4 yards per carry every year of his career — including this season, where he had a career-high 180 carries for 896 yards and six touchdowns (on 5.0 yards per carry). He also can catch out of the backfield, which helps.”"
With a recent history of bad luck when it comes to the running backs, the Lions may want to add a veteran via free agency to help solidify the position. And in Dion Lewis, they’d have a back with championship experience and someone who Patricia knows very well. It honestly seems like a perfect pairing in Detroit.
Dion Lewis is coming off a career-year in New England. The 27-year old rushed for 896 yards and six touchdowns in 2017, posting a 5.0 yards per carry average. The six-year veteran also caught 32 passes for 214 receiving yards and three more scores through the air.