This can be a tense final week of the preseason for those players without a solid roster footing beneath them, but Detroit Lions running back Ameer Abdullah insists he's approaching this week the same way he's approached this entire year so far.
"I feel like (the pressure is on) every week for me," Abdullah said. "I have to do something every day. It's all about proving yourself in this league every single day you get an opportunity and right now, I'm just working every single day, one day at a time."
Given what the Lions have done to the running back room this offseason, in terms of bringing in veteran LeGarrette Blount and drafting Kerryon Johnson, there is a sense that this could be an opportunity for Abdullah to solidify a spot on the 53-man roster, if he hasn't already, with a good week.
He has played 44 snaps this preseason, more than every Lions running back except Johnson, who has played in 66 snaps.
Abdullah rushed for 30 yards on seven carries (4.3 average) last week in Tampa Bay, and has 53 yards on 13 carries (4.1) in three preseason games. That's a little better than his career average of 3.8 yards per attempt.
"It's been OK," Abdullah said of the body of work he's put in throughout camp and the preseason. "A lot of things I have to continue to get more in the groove of, get my eyes quicker seeing things. But like I said, I'm taking every day in stride. I'm my own worst critic. Nobody can say anything about me I haven't said about myself before. That's how I approach every single day."
The Lions have some decisions to make at the running back spot ahead of Saturday's 4 p.m. deadline to cut the roster from 90 players to an initial 53. Blount and Johnson seem to be locks, and Theo Riddick is one of the best in the business at creating mismatches and catching the ball out of the backfield. Where do Abdullah, Zach Zenner and Dwayne Washington then fit into the mix?
Abdullah's played in 32 games with 22 starts for the Lions over the last three years. That's good experience to keep around, and his abilities as a receiver out of the backfield make him a good insurance policy in case something happens to Riddick.
He has also worked extensively this camp on special teams as both a punt and kick returner. The Lions could use him in the kick return role, especially, if he makes the roster.
Asked Monday if he expects to be on the roster next week, Abdullah said that he doesn't worry much about things that are out of his control. He'd rather focus on what he can control, which is providing coaches and front office personnel with one final week of good impressions.
"Right now my mindset is on tomorrow," Abdullah said. "I'm not really here to say if I'll be on the roster or not. Right now that's out of my control and something that's next week. I can't control the future."