Running to daylight should be easier
The 2021 Detroit Lions will undoubtedly rely on the ground game and as it goes, so will their fortunes. However, it seems far-fetched to think that the passing game will become nothing more than a last resort.
When we consider the potential of the offensive line, it stands to reason that it will anchor the whole offense.
Running to daylight should be easier than it has been for so many of the previous years. When we also take into consideration, D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams are the Lions’ one-two punch in the backfield, that’s a really good case in favor of Detroit’s ability to run the ball.
The unsung player in the backfield is seventh-round pick Jermar Jefferson. The Oregon State product was considered too slow, but he is a patient runner with outstanding vision who somehow was almost never caught from behind when he broke into the open field.
I find it interesting that one of the comparisons I have most heard for Jefferson is his new teammate Jamaal Williams. If Jefferson can come even close to doing what Williams does, that makes for a powerful trio in the Honolulu Blue and Silver backfield.
While the ground game seems to be on a decided upswing, the passing game is not what it used to be. Jared Goff is a capable quarterback who can win in the NFL, but he is a definite downgrade from Matthew Stafford.
The receiving corps is nothing but an enigma. Tyrell Williams has everything needed to be the Lions’ top wideout. He also has had trouble staying healthy. Meanwhile, Breshad Perriman has never lived up to his status as a first-round draft pick due to inconsistency.
Amon-Ra St. Brown has ability but is a rookie, Quintez Cephus showed some flashes last year but will need to take a big step forward. The rest are unknown, unproven pieces that Campbell and his staff hope will surprise the league.
Even with tight end T.J. Hockenson and versatile backs Swift and Williams, who should contribute heavily to the passing game, the questions outweigh the positives. So maybe it wouldn’t be the end of the world if the passing game did get shuffled all the way to the back of the bus.