It’s no secret the Detroit Lions are in dire need of a running game. Much to many fan’s dismay, GM Bob Quinn passed in the draft and disregarded multiple recognizable backs in free agency. Why would Quinn take this approach?
Answer: a healthy Ameer Abdullah.
Key word being “healthy.” After the third-year running back let the news slip he did in fact suffer the dreaded Lisfranc tear, mass hysteria ensued. Important to note, there are many varying degrees of the injury and not all are created equal. You could deduce by the absence of a non-contact jersey and rumors of a late season return that the severity of his ailment was not as bad as it could have been.
Only listed at 5-foot-9 and 205-pounds, he isn’t the epitome of an NFL three-down back. He earns his living off of his elite agility and explosiveness. Any decline of those coveted traits and he is just your average undersized scatback–not exactly what you want your starting tailback to be.
If #Lions RB Abdullah was at this year's combine:
— Logan Lamorandier (@LLamorandier) May 20, 2017
It would be fair to assume that there might be a drop in his quickness from a healthy year ago, but thankfully, early reports out of training camp would say otherwise.
Nice Abdullah run inside, still shifty as ever.
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) August 2, 2017
Breaking: Ameer Abdullah still good
— Erik Schlitt (@erikschlitt) July 31, 2017
In fact, Lions RBs coach David Walker also reinforced the notion of Abdullah being the featured back. “Ameer’s our guy. Theo Riddick has his role, and then the other guys, they got to kind of fit where they fit and that’s how we’ll go,” said Walker.
If Quinn had any doubts in the health of Abdullah, would he have come away with just Matt Asiata this offseason?
In the small sample size last year, Abdullah put on a show as the lead back. He forced eight missed tackles on just 23 total touches, averaged 5.6-yards per attempt, and looked to be an offensive spark plug. He accumulated tough yards despite limited running lanes. The next closest running back in the yards-per-carry category was 1.7-yards behind.
In order for the Lions to improve their 30th ranked rushing attack, Abdullah will need to find his pre-injury form.
So far, so good.