The Detroit Lions are expected to run the football more in their new offensive scheme. Would signing free-agent running back LeSean McCoy make sense?
When the Detroit Lions hired Darrell Bevell to be their offensive coordinator this offseason, it seemed to be an indication that the team wanted to field a more run-orientated offense moving forward. After all, Bevell found success helping to guide legendary running backs like Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch to Hall of Fame careers.
The Lions have fielded a notoriously bad running game for years, ranking dead last in total rushing yards in the NFL two out of the past four years. And that’s been due in part to a lack of talent in the backfield. That all changed last season with the second-round selection of Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson.
The first year rusher averaged an impressive 5.4 yards per carry in 2018, racking up 641 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games. Johnson also recorded the Lions’ first two 100-yard rushing games since Reggie Bush did it back in November of 2013. Unfortunately, his sensational rookie season was cut short due to a knee injury.
The combination of Kerryon Johnson and Darrell Bevell, along with the addition of newcomers in running backs C.J. Anderson and rookie Ty Johnson are expected to lead the offensive charge in the Motor City this year. And their success should lessen the load on veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is entering his 11th NFL season.
But a name has emerged during final cuts this weekend that might intrigue Lions’ fans. According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the Buffalo Bills intend to release running back LeSean McCoy, making the 31-year old a free agent. The six-time Pro Bowler is coming off a down season, recording 514 rushing yards and three scores averaging a career-low 3.2 yards per carry. He also posted 34 receptions for an additional 238 yards.
Adding a veteran like McCoy to the rotation in Detroit would give the Lions some insurance as Kerryon Johnson does have a disturbing injury history reaching all the way back to high school. C.J. Anderson is clearly more of a power back for use mainly in short-yardage situations. While the rookie Ty Johnson is … well, a rookie. He’s unlikely prepared to carry the load as a sixth-rounder.
In the end, LeSean McCoy is likely to find more attractive places to run the football other than Motown. Yet, if the Detroit Lions opt to kick the tires on the former two-time All-Pro running back, you can certainly understand why. Especially if Shady is willing to ink a team-friendly, one-year contract in order to prove he’s worth a bigger investment in the future.