Detroit Lions: C.J. Anderson can succeed where LeGarrette Blount didn’t
The Detroit Lions have said goodbye to LeGarrette Blount and hello to C.J. Anderson, and here’s how the later can succeed in Honolulu Blue.
The move by the Detroit Lions to bring in LeGarrette Blount was an obvious and welcome decision in 2018. He played for the New England Patriots while head coach Matt Patricia was the defensive coordinator. The Lions were trying to improve the running game and a back to back Super Bowl Champion couldn’t hurt to have in the locker room.
Blount was also a tenacious running back that fought for extra yardage and didn’t go down easy. But, he’s 32 years old, which is pretty old for a running back in today’s NFL, and has nine seasons of wear and tear on his body.
This doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of playing anymore, but the Lions opted not to re-sign him this spring. Instead, they signed former Los Angeles Rams running back C.J. Anderson. Similar to Blount, Anderson is coming to Detroit following a season where he played in the Super Bowl and he serves the complementary power back role to the team’s starter in Kerryon Johnson.
Where Anderson has the opportunity to succeed beyond Blount begins with his lower center of gravity. Anderson is 5-foot-8 and weighs 225 pounds compared to Blount’s 6-foot frame with 247 pounds. This should be more advantages when trying to push the pile in goal line situations.
To compare their most recent seasons, Blount put up 418 yards in 16 games played. Anderson put up 403 yards in 11 games played. Even that statistic is somewhat misleading when you account for 299 yards in Anderson’s two games with the Rams. It’s a significant difference.
The receiving component of each player’s game shouldn’t have an impact as Anderson had five catches for 41 yards and Blount had 10 catches for 67 yards. Neither player was counted on as the primary receiving back, but showing their stats lets you know each player has that aspect of their game to keep defenses honest against them.
Another area where Anderson has the advantage is his age. He’s 28-years old and four years younger than Blount with six years under his belt in the NFL. He hasn’t had as many years as the main workhorse as Blount and shouldn’t be asked to do as much this season with Johnson expected to lead the way.
One final thing to note is that Anderson has the benefit of better blocking tight ends and a slightly different offense under new coordinator Darrell Bevell, who has made it no secret that he likes to run the ball. With fresher legs and a lower center of gravity, expect Anderson to push the pile and to be a little bit shiftier in the running game than Blount was a year ago.
Will C.J. Anderson have significantly more success than LeGarrette Blount did with this Detroit Lions’ team? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.