Detroit Lions: The other Johnson might make his own name in Motown
By Robert Jones
Finding a home for Ty Johnson in the Lions backfield is an ‘apple for apple’ deal. He has to beat out someone with the same or similar skill set to win a job here in Detroit and that leaves really only one viable answer to the equation; Theo Riddick.
There has been speculation throughout the offseason by many pundits that this could be the year that Riddick is sent packing. The problem is that the only back on the roster, until the draft, that could do everything Riddick can is Kerryon Johnson who is not only versatile enough to be a potent weapon in the passing game but is a star runner in the making.
Kerryon is the main event and you don’t replace depth with the main event. That means new depth has to move in to challenge for his roster spot. This is where the ‘other’ Johnson comes into play.
Just to clarify that thought a little more, if Ty Johnson does replace Theo Riddick on the roster, we should expect that it will most likely be Kerryon who will pick up the vast majority of Riddick’s playing time. But since Kerryon already has his own roster spot, someone would have to fill Theo’s place on the roster. This is where Ty comes in.
Ty Johnson has a broad skill set. His versatility to play on special teams, as well as be a reliable ball carrier and catching the ball out of the backfield means he would be able to bring more skills to the table than Riddick at a more economical cap number.
Does that mean it’s time to hand Johnson a place on the roster? Not yet. Between pure speed and versatility, he looks like the type of player everyone from Bob Quinn down to the Motown faithful might think is a keeper, but that’s what training camp and finally practicing and playing in pads if for.
The Detroit Lions backfield may not be the deepest in the NFL or even the most explosive, but they start with a budding star and are filling in around him with reliable players that can contribute when called upon. Maybe by opening day, the ‘other’ Johnson might be one of them.