Detroit Lions: This free agent can boost the running game
By Kellen Voss
The Detroit Lions offense has not reached it’s full potential this decade due to it’s inability to run the ball, but this free agent can change that.
Detroit Lions fans were thrilled to see rookie running back Kerryon Johnson rushed for 101 yards in the Week 3 win against the New England Patriots, because he was the first Lion to rush for 100+ yards since Reggie Bush did on Thanksgiving Day in 2013.
Even though it was an old trope that announcers fell back on when calling Lions game, it’s genuinely sad that the Lions went nearly 5 whole seasons with one back rushing for 100 yards in a contest. While Johnson struggled with injuries his rookie, he was only able to top triple digits one other time in 2018 in a Week 6 win against the Miami Dolphins.
In order to produce more 100 yard games from Johnson and veteran C.J. Anderson, the Lions need to lock down their left guard spot, as former pro bowler T.J. Lang retired this offseason.
While the hole that Lang leaves in Lions offense is figuratively (and literally) large, that hole could easily plugged by Oday Aboushi, who has been around the NFL block.
While the former Virginia Cavalier brief stints with the New York Jets, Houston Texans, Seattle Seahawks, and Arizona Cardinals under his belt, he is only seen as an average offensive guard by Pro Football Focus and has only appeared in 42 games in five seasons.
The NFL journeyman will fight for that starting right guard spot this offseason, along with in-house options in Kenny Wiggins, Tyrell Crosby and Joe Dahl. But what can separate Aboushi from all the in-house options is his versatility, as head coach Matt Patricia explained via DetroitLions.com.
"“You have guys who can do that and have kind of moved around and been able to have had success in doing that. That’s kind of one of the big keys there. Certainly, from a standpoint of knowledge, studying the game, being a smart, aware football player – he’s done a good job of that. That gives him a chance to go out there and compete physically in that position to see how that works.”"
This will be team No. 6 on Aboushi’s rather extensive NFL journey, and while he has unable to sustain long-term success, his experience with five NFL teams means he understands more than a few NFL offenses, making it an easy transition as the Lions look to overhaul their offense under new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
Bevell looks to put more of an emphasis on the running game in a new zone-blocking scheme, and plugging in a guy like Aboushi who knows how to run that offense and played under Bevell in Seattle in 2017 is crucial to efficiently learning how to run the football.
While MLive’s Kyle Meinke projected Wiggins to currently be the leader to win that starting job, Aboushi’s past relationship with Bevell and vast knowledge of NFL blocking schemes gives the veteran a puncher’s chance at earning the job.
That experience along with a potential competition to win that starting job at right guard can help improve all those fighting for the spot, which can only help the Detroit Lions in the long run