It seems like everywhere I go I hear about how the Detroit Lions need to pick up another veteran running back. While I have to be honest that this thought has crossed my mind a few times too, I would be very surprised, barring further injuries, if it happened.
The Lions will almost certainly stick with the running backs they already have. Given this presumtion, here's what we have seen in the Lions' running game so far:
Yes, pretty disparaging numbers considering that's the same total the Bengals amassed against the Lions' D-line. But that can be seen as the Lions' defense getting gouged a couple of times and then pulling it together to be much more efficient in stopping the run.
We don't need to focus on the fact that it was primarily our second and third stringers who stopped their second and third stringers because the job got done and that's all that really matters. Right?
When the Lions played a much better Cleveland Browns team in week two, Detroit gained 176 rushing yards. That's two and a half times what they were able to do the previous week. Surprised?
They also ran the ball 45 times and averaged 3.9 yards per carry. The Lions defense also held the Browns to 135 yards rushing which is good news. The bad news is that it only took the Browns 22 plays to get there, giving them 6.1 YPC.
Ian Johnson (7-for-34), Mike Bell (11-for-33) and Jerome Harrison (6-for-27) combined to put up over half of the rushing yards against the Browns. Interestingly, only Harrison is likely to make the roster as the third string back.
Jahvid Best is locked in as the starter and Maurice Morris is likely locked in as the backup. Even though Morris has not played this preseason due to a broken hand, he played very well as a backup to Best last season and knows this offense.
Harrison gained 35 yards on 12 attempts in two preseason games. He also caught one pass for negative yards.
Brown gained 32 yards on 10 attempts. He caught six passes for 61 yards and also returned a kickoff 22 yards.
With two preseason games remaining, the winner of the final running back spot could be determined this week against a New England Patriots team that is stout against the run.
Stats don't always tell the whole story. Which running back would you prefer to see make the roster? Harrison or Brown?