It kills me when fans and even Coach Schwartz complains that the team is lacking big plays from the ground game.
The reason it bothers me so is because the Lions, for all the talk about becoming a power rushing team, has at time completely abandoned the run. Sure, critics will claim that it's hard to run when you are behind. I agree, but there have only a handful of games where the team was too far behind to continue on the ground.
There seems to be a perception that in order to run the ball consistently, that a team must be ahead; the whole game. That is not true. Unless you are behind by two touchdowns or more in the forth quarter, there is no reason to go pass happy.
Even while staging a comeback, the ground game can be very beneficial. Running the ball provides a balance to the offense and gives the defense something else to think about. When a team is playing from behind, it is expected to throw the ball to catch up quickly.
Knowing this, defenses will "pin their ears back" and attack with no fear of giving up yards on the ground. This situation presents the offense with the perfect time for draws and delayed handoffs. It's also a great time for screen passes, which are basically passing draw plays.
This brings us back to Mr. Smith. He has shown to be a very capable when given an opportunity. He is a hard runner and does a good job of moving the chains. He consistently gets the hard yards when not much is available. So what that he doesn't break 50 yard plays, his consistent threat can open up 50 yard plays in the passing game (i.e; Calvin Johnson), which really is a big play threat.
So Detroit, I beg you: Do not give up on the ground game. With everyone scared of Calvin Johnson, Kevin Smith is your best friend. Besides, with your defense giving up historic passing games, let our backs keep opposing teams off the field.
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