Is making Adrian Peterson the Lions lead back a smart move?

Adrian Peterson, Detroit Lions - Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports
Adrian Peterson, Detroit Lions - Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports /

With Adrian Peterson being the Detroit Lions’ lead back, how will this affect the offense moving forward?

Running back Adrian Peterson still has a lot left in the tank. However, when the Detroit Lions signed him to a one-year deal a week before the regular season started, most thought of him as a mentor for running backs Kerryon Johnson and D’Andre Swift.

Heading into Week Four of the NFL season, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has made it clear that the team will continue to go with Peterson acting as the lead back in Detroit. And both Johnson and Swift spelling the 35-year old veteran in complementary roles.

Fans should be in favor of Peterson getting the bulk of the carries. Although, to go away from talented youngsters in order to do this is a tough ask.

Another issue is the way the Lions like to run the football. Take a look at this breakdown …

This was the rushing direction during last weeks game against the Arizona Cardinals. Peterson had handful of good runs and it’s why the Lions should continue to use him. The only problem is that it’s hard seeing this strategy being successful.

Over 70% of the Lions running plays were up the middle of the field. Majority of them in the I-formation and 12 personnel. Once the Cardinals noticed that they were doing this, they stacked the box with seven or eight defenders on early downs.

Also, tight ends T.J. Hockenson and Jesse James have struggled in run blocking, which is key in those type of formations. Outside of those big carries, the offense had a hard time running the ball last week. Which only leads to forcing quarterback Matthew Stafford into obvious passing situations.

They can’t be this predictable, it will kill Detroit’s offense. It seems that all Bevell wants do is run power concepts. When they should be incorporating some zone running schemes, sweeps, stretch runs. Mixing it up to keep opposing defenses on their toes.

Not to mention, the New Orleans Saints defense has done very well against runs that are designed to go through the A and B-gaps. In the 34 carries up those gaps, New Orleans only allowed 89 rushing yards, an impressive 2.6 yards per carry.

Game plan against the New Orleans Saints

Don’t get it wrong here. Adrian Peterson has been outstanding for the Lions. The problem is this isn’t a good match-up for him. Detroit needs to get all three running backs involved and become more pass heavy this week.

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The Saints secondary has had their struggles, being tied (with the Lions ironically) for the second lowest rated coverage team in the league. Look for the Saints and the Lions getting into a shoot out on Sunday.