A healthy Matthew Stafford and Kerryon Johnson is key to success on the field for the Detroit Lions
The 2019 season saw two key Detroit Lions players in quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back Kerryon Johnson miss time due to injuries. Stafford missed the final eight games of the season with a back injury which resulted in the team not winning a game over that span. Johnson suffered a knee injury in Week 7 and didn’t return until Week 16.
As both Stafford and Johnson are key players in the offensive unit, in order for the Lions to win games, they both need to be healthy and on the field. While injuries happen, there are ways to prevent them from happening and it’s not just stretching and exercising.
For one, a strong offensive line is needed as Stafford and Johnson play positions that defensive lineman hunt for. General manager Bob Quinn did a magnificent job beefing up the offensive line. Quinn signed Halapoulivaati Vaitai who’s a monstrous 6-foot-6 and 320 pounds. In the draft, he selected two guys that play on the offensive line in Jonah Jackson in the third round and Logan Stenberg in the fourth round.
Jackson is 6-foot-4, 312 pounds while Stenberg comes in at 6-foot-6, 315 pounds. Jackson has been credited for his run blocking abilities and so has Stenberg who excels in that aspect and has done a very good job protecting the quarterback at the college level allowing zero sacks in his final year.
The front office also went out and got insurance at those positions in case either Stafford or Johnson fall to injury again. Quarterback Chase Daniel was signed to back up Stafford while running back D’Andre Swift was taken in the second round of the 2020 draft.
One thing that can be done to protect Stafford from injuries is throwing short passes. Once the ball is snapped to him, he can get rid of the ball quickly by throwing to one of his receivers and relying on them to gain more yardage with the ball in their hands.
Another thing that can be done to protect Stafford is have both tight ends T.J. Hockenson and Jesse James on the field to help in the blocking unit. This would allow having potentially seven guys protecting the quarterback where also one of them can break free and become a receiver. This would also help protect Johnson if a play has him running the ball. Having both tight ends on the field would be beneficial in plays that are needed to just get a few yards.
If the Detroit Lions want to have a successful 2020 season, having a healthy Matthew Stafford and Kerryon Johnson is crucial as they are both important members of the team.