The Lions’ rushing woes have been well documented over the years.
They have not finished in the top half of the league in rushing yards since Barry Sanders retired from the NFL more than 20 years ago and they last had a 1,000-yard rusher since Reggie Bush posted 1,006 yards in 2013. That history can be a lot for a running backs coach to reckon with, but only if you pay attention to it.
Duce Staley was hired to fill that role along with the assistant head coach position this offseason and he says that tours down memory lane are not part of his preparation for his first season in Detroit.
“It’s very easy for me to go back in history and find the bad things,” Staley said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “It’s very easy to do that, and around here I think that’s what people do. But I’m looking forward to the backs I have here now, the type of system that we’re going to run offensively and we’re going to put our playmakers in position to make plays.”
D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams fill those roles for Staley’s unit, but any positive momentum on the ground will be linked to the offensive line as well. The Lions invested in that area by drafting right tackle Penei Sewell in the first round and more success up front could lead to Staley having company when it comes to ignoring the bad old days.