Detroit Lions: It’s time to shut down Kerryon Johnson

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 18: Kerryon Johnson #33 of the Detroit Lions runs for a first down during the second quarter of the game against the Carolina Panthers at Ford Field on November 18, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 18: Kerryon Johnson #33 of the Detroit Lions runs for a first down during the second quarter of the game against the Carolina Panthers at Ford Field on November 18, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /
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With the 2018 schedule all but in the books, it’s best the Detroit Lions save their rookie running back for future seasons. The focus should be long term.

101 yards. That was the rushing yards Kerryon Johnson finished with after no running back clipped the century mark for a 70 game span. Twice he’s done so already for the Detroit Lions.

Through ten games, Johnson’s added 854 combined rushing/receiving yards, and four touchdowns off 150 touches. A knee injury has kept him inactive for the third straight week.

That kind of production is more than modest and has been missed in this Lions offense. With a 4-8 record, is it worth rushing the rookie back to health?

Spin it how you choose but there’s no way I’d sign off on playing the best running back in Detroit for no good reason. 2019 and beyond is more important at this point.

I wrote an article pleading for the Lions to take things slowly with their rookie runner prior to the season. Look how that turned out.

Over the course of three seasons at Auburn, not once had Johnson finished a full season as the lead back. Not to mention his last season on campus included over 300 touches. A number that usually foreshadows disaster the following year if not dealt with properly.

There’s no denying the talent, but what good does it do on the shelf? Detroit shouldn’t risk any further setbacks.

How could the second rounder ensure he maintains a healthier career? Simple. Add some weight.

206 won’t tip any scales, especially for someone almost six feet tall (5-11). A good amount of muscle, ranging from five to ten pounds, would help him take the abuse he’ll see as the feature back.

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Further complicating a hurt knee would stifle his promising career. Johnson means a lot to the Detroit Lions organization, just not enough to drastically change the outcome of the season. They’ll manage without him.