Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford has his most complete set of weapons

Detroit Lions (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Bo Scarbrough, Detroit Lions
Bo Scarbrough, Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

Running Backs

Kerryon Johnson– Slowed by injuries for the second year in a row as a pro, the two rookie selections make it clear that the team is taking nothing for granted with Johnson. Kerryon was struggling through the first half of last year even before getting hurt, finding openings harder to come by than as a rookie. Still, he led the team in rushing for the second year in a row (403 yards) and reached the end zone four times in half a season.

While he could have packed it in and stayed on the sidelines at the end of a season that was lost beyond hope, it was encouraging to see him come back over the final two games. It was even more encouraging that he ran well with rationed carries (95 yards, 4.5 avg, 1 TD) in those two games.

As a feature back, I can’t argue that it’s difficult to rely on Johnson’s health at this point, and the Lions did well to get some insurance in the case of another injury. As a member of a deep and diverse committee of running backs though, Kerryon’s speed and feel for the game can still keep him a valuable part of the offense.

Bo ScarbroughScarbrough was a midseason revelation, not even on the active roster until after Stafford was gone for the year. He came off the practice squad for November’s game against Dallas and was reliable for a vicious four yards a carry up the middle the rest of the way.

It was the type of punch that disappointing free agent splurges LeGarrette Blount and C.J. Anderson were hired to provide. Coming from a former seventh round pick who’d already been cut by his first team was an added bonus from a pleasant surprise standpoint (not to mention the payroll bargain for Martha Ford).

Nothing is set in stone regarding Scarbrough’s role this season, but with 377 yards in just six games and a distinctive downhill running style, he did more than enough to remain in the rotation in my mind.

Ty Johnson– The other Johnson showed some speed and had a few nice moments in 2019, including a 40 yard run against Green Bay in the final game. However, he scored no touchdowns in 87 touches. The fact that Tra Carson, Paul Perkins, Bo Scarbrough, and Wes Hills were all slotted ahead of him when he was seemingly the next man up during the injury plague is telling, as is the team’s fifth round selection (see next).