ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Each week, we take some of your questions for a Detroit Lions mailbag. To ask a question for a future mailbag, use the hashtag #LionsMailbag on Twitter, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out on Facebook.
Now, on to your questions.
At the end of the season will Lions have a 1,000 yard back? 🙏 #LionsMailbag— David Soberman (@dsobes) August 16, 2018
David, this is one of the questions of the preseason. If the Lions can have a 1,000-yard back that likely leads to at least an average run game – and potentially a dynamic offense considering the team’s passing options. The question will be if any of the backs Detroit has on the roster – LeGarrette Blount, Kerryon Johnson, Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah – get enough carries and enough open holes to make that happen.
Of the four, Johnson might have the best bet if he’s able to build on what has been a strong training camp. He’s going to have a role and potentially a big one. Blount is the only back on the roster who has had a 1,000-yard season – 1,161 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2016 – but it’s unlikely he would get the 299 carries he had with the Patriots that season.
Riddick, because he's primarily a pass-catcher, is a non-factor here. The wild card is Abdullah. He has had a really good camp and while he’s expected to be behind both Blount and Johnson on the depth chart, the skill is there. Plus, Detroit has been giving him first-team work. So if he were to be a starter early and play well, he might have a shot at it.
All of that said, a 1,000-yard back doesn’t seem like a strong possibility. What does seem possible, though, is a stronger run game than years past built around a combination of Blount and Johnson.
If the Lions run defense still looks suspect by end of preseason do you believe Quinn pulls trigger on a trade or bring in another DL when final cuts happen?#LionsMailbag— JonJon (@LionsFan4Everr) August 16, 2018
JonJon, it would depend who is out there at that point in time – or if a trade could be made (perhaps for a cornerback or a running back on the Lions) with a team that has defensive line/front seven depth. The defensive line is a concern right now and should be considering Ricky Jean Francois signed less than a month ago and looks like a potential starter with the Lions. That screams issues with Detroit’s defensive line talent and depth.
Kerry Hyder, Anthony Zettel and A’Shawn Robinson all have chances to show what they can do the next few games, but if Bob Quinn doesn’t like what he sees there then he should try to bolster the defensive line if better options are out there. There’s just no actual guarantee there will be.
If Stafford were to go down, we appear to be toast. Any chance of a QB roster move? #LionsMailbag— Dan Remenap (@dremenap) August 15, 2018
Dan, a lot of teams would be in bad shape if their starting quarterback went down. From what has been shown in training camp, the Lions would be in trouble if Matthew Stafford got hurt because neither Matt Cassel nor Jake Rudock has looked particularly good. But if the Lions wanted another experienced arm, they probably would have brought someone in already to compete and there are very few quarterback options out there (Colin Kaepernick would be one) that would be likely upgrades over what Detroit has. So just keep that in mind. But yeah, the Lions would be in deep trouble.
Justin from Parts Unknown asks Would it make sense to trade Ziggy Ansah to the Raiders and a first-round pick for Khalil Mack?
Justin, this is a piggyback off last week’s question about an unlikely Khalil Mack trade. And my answer – my short answer – is yes. If the Lions were able to get Khalil Mack and it took trading Ansah to get Mack, I would do that deal as long as you know you can sign Mack to a long-term extension. If you don’t, then it becomes trickier. Another question I received, from Randy on Facebook, inquired about Ameer Abdullah or Theo Riddick in a potential Mack deal. I would again say the same thing – Mack is the better player and if that helps a deal happen, I would do it. But I don’t know if the Raiders would want that, either.