After breaking a long drought for the Lions without a 100-yard rusher, Kerryon Johnson somehow found himself underused on Sunday.
In a Week 3 upset of the New England Patriots, Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson had 16 carries for 101 yards along with two catches for nine yards. That put him right on the fringe of being a RB2 for fantasy owners (RB25 for the week; ESPN PPR scoring), and an upward trend in his usage seemed sure to continue in Week 4 against the Dallas Cowboys.
Johnson ripped off a 32-yard run on Detroit’s first play from scrimmage on Sunday, on his way to nine carries for 55 yards and a touchdown along with one catch. LeGarrette Blount finished with 12 yards on seven carries, and Theo Riddick had five touches (four catches) in the game.
With no known injury, and a close game, Johnson should have had more work against Dallas. After the game, Lions head coach Matt Patricia offered a bad explanation for why the rookie out of Auburn didn’t play more.
Again, start, not start depends on personnel groups, who’s in the game, things like that,” Coach Patricia responded. “It doesn’t matter who’s in the game, whoever’s not in the game.
Detroit ran 54 offensive plays against the Cowboys. Johnson was on the field for 20, and he didn’t even lead Lions’ running backs in snaps.
Theo Riddick is a nice player, even if he’s strictly a passing down back. But there’s no way he should have more snaps than Johnson in a game where the Lions can be balanced offensively.
No one is calling for Johnson to get 25 carries. But 20 touches, with a mix of carries and catches, shouldn’t be too tough to attain in most games. If there was any doubt about his power as a runner, let’s ask Cowboys’ safety Jeff Heath.
Johnson has brought some long-awaited spark to Detroit’s rushing attack. Now it’s on offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter to find a way to keep him involved all game long, and not give away snaps to two backs who have far less to offer.