Barry Sanders believes in Detroit Lions new running back combo

Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

Detroit Lions legend Barry Sanders believes his former team has found a nice running back combination with Kerryon Johnson and Bo Scarbrough.

For the first time in recent memory, the Detroit Lions enter the offseason without their running back position being a desperate roster need. Although starting running back Kerryon Johnson still missed eight games due to an knee injury in 2019, his absence allowed the arrival of Bo Scarbrough in the Motor City last season.

Durability is still a major concern with Johnson, who slipped to the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft due in part to his extensive injury history in both college and high school. And those concerns have proven to be valid as the 22-year old has missed a total of 14 out of a possible 32 games in his first two seasons in the NFL due to back-to-back knee injuries.

Last season, Johnson went down in the Lions’ Week Seven matchup against the Minnesota Vikings in late October. As a result of the team missing their top rusher, Detroit would sign former Alabama star running back Bo Scarbrough in November.

And the 6-foot-1, 235-pound bruiser back made an immediate impact, racking up 55 rushing yards and a touchdown on 14 carries in his first start in the NFL, a Week 11 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. Scarbrough would follow that up with a 98-yard performance against the Washington Redskins, 83-yards versus the Chicago Bears, and 65-yards against the Minnesota Vikings.

Scarbrough’s emergence at the end of last year caught the eye of Lions’ Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders. Here’s what Sanders told the Detroit Free Press about the play of the power back last season.

"“I saw [Bo Scarbrough] play a little bit and man, he’s a solid, tough, downhill runner. And he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty. You know you’re going to have to tackle him. He was the same way at Alabama. … So running game-wise, you would think that he would figure into that. He’s a different runner than Kerryon [Johnson], so I would think they could be a really nice combination going forward.”"

Sanders would go on to compare Johnson and Scarbrough to Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida, the running back combo for the San Francisco 49ers who’ll be playing in Super Bowl LIV this Sunday.

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Both Kerryon Johnson and Bo Scarbrough were able to split carries in the Detroit Lions’ final two games last season, with the duo racking up a combined 171 rushing yards and a score. It was just a glimpse of what this one-two punch might be able to provide in what has become a make-or-break season for the Pride in 2020.