Detroit Lions: 5 numbers that have to change in 2020

Trey Flowers, Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Trey Flowers, Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /
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Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions
Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

Detroit Lions fifth number to change


Lest you think that we believe that the Detroit Lions stopped playing offense, we have a number for them to change, too. The Lions averaged 103.1 yards-per-game rushing or 1,649 yards for the season. That, believe it or not, is a big improvement from a couple of years ago when the Lions hadn’t had a 100-yard rusher in almost five years.

Despite the improvement, which has trailed off some since 2018 due to losing several linemen, the Lions need to keep pace with the rest of the league to be more efficient and productive in the run game. They ranked 20th in adjusted line yards, yards created by the line regardless of the ball carrier, at 4.21 yards, according to the Football Outsiders data website and sortable line rankings.

Overall, they were 21st in rushing totals, suggesting that the line was slightly better than the talent and playcalling under Lions offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, last year.

Kerryon Johnson is back for his third year as the top runner but now has a rookie looking to absorb some carries and pass plays in the offense, D’Andre Swift. Swift is part of an overhauled running back corps that has Bo Scarbrough, Ty Johnson, Jonathon Williams, rookie Jason Huntley, and Wes Hills at the moment. All of them will not survive the final cuts coming this weekend.

Along the line, the Detroit Lions drafted two interior offensive linemen, Jonah Jackson and Logan Stenberg, as well as signing help at right tackle, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, to bolster the ground game. While they did let guard-center Graham Glasgow go in the offseason, Jackson has been running with the Lions starters since he was drafted and Stenberg offers both left guard depth and has been working at center, a new position for him.