The Detroit Lions Gave Kerryon Johnson Only Limited Playing Time In The Loss To The New York Jets Monday.
The Detroit Lions fan base was anxiously awaiting the regular season debut of the second-round pick and preseason standout, running back Kerryon Johnson. While his stat line doesn’t exactly jump off the page, he looked good in his limited opportunities.
Johnson finished the game with five rushes for 17 yards, good for a 3.4 yard per carry average.
That per carry average looks sub-par, but fans who watched the game had to be happy with what they saw out of the new Lions running back. Outside of wide receiver Kenny Golladay, who had a good game for himself, there wasn’t a lot to be happy with out of the Lions offense on Monday night. While the production wasn’t there, this was an encouraging rookie debut from Johnson, a player that general manager Bob Quinn invested heavily in.
The question from many Lions fans is why he didn’t play more? Why didn’t head coach Matt Patricia give him more of an opportunity?
Johnson entered the game after some early game struggles from offseason acquisition LeGarrette Blount. Johnson had a few nice runs immediately and then rarely saw the field for the rest of the game.
It may not seem this way, but somehow, with only five carries, Johnson led the team in carries.
The problem (one of many) was the game-script. The Lions were playing from behind for almost the entire game, and that dictated the flow of the game. The Lions went into a pass-heavy offense early, put themselves in long-distance situations, and failed to sustain drives.
This meant that there was a lot of the other running back Theo Riddick.
If there is one thing to learn from the running back committee Monday, it is that Riddick has (for now) completely retained his role as the passing downs running back. If the Lions thought that Johnson could take over that role immediately, they may have at least tried to take a look at him, but the coaching staff seemed pretty committed to keeping Riddick in the game throughout the floundering comeback attempt, despite Riddick only producing 15 yards on five receptions.
Hopefully, the Lions can avoid losing by 31 points in the future and keep the games close enough that Johnson has a real opportunity to see a substantial amount of work in the running game.