Ty Johnson is ready for whatever the Detroit Lions and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell want to put on his plate.
The rookie running back could see an uptick in usage moving forward after the team parted ways with veteran backup C.J. Anderson this week. Johnson jumped Anderson last week vs. the Chargers in reps and carries, and made the most of the opportunity, rushing for 30 yards on five carries, including an impressive 17-yard run in the second quarter.
“It definitely gives you a boost of confidence,” Johnson said of his performance last week. “Just being able to play at a high level, and the Chargers are a great team.”
Johnson said he’s ready for any role the Lions might be planning for him behind starter Kerryon Johnson. J.D. McKissic, and the newly acquired Paul Perkins, could also be in the mix for carries, but it certainly seems likely Ty Johnson’s workload could increase.
Johnson, a sixth-round pick by the Lions this year, had a terrific spring, and that carried over in training camp. He might be the fastest player on the Lions roster, but he also showed off a little power on the 17-yard run, planting Chargers safety Rayshawn Jenkins on his rear with a devastating stiff-arm. The rookie has shown off a nice skill set, which also includes kickoff returns. Teammates have taken notice.
“It was good for him to get in there,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said of Ty Johnson. “I thought he ran the ball well. He’s an explosive kid. Strong, fast, physical. Young guy trying to do right. Still has a lot to learn, but I was happy for him.”
Kerryon Johnson is still the man in the Lions' backfield, but starting Sunday in Philadelphia, it looks like we could start to see more of a Johnson & Johnson tandem in Detroit’s backfield.
SPREADING IT AROUND
Stafford has spread the ball around to 10 different receivers through the first two games of the season. He’s also had three 100-yard receivers in two games – T.J. Hockenson, Danny Amendola and Kenny Golladay.
That’s a 100-yard performance from a tight end, slot receiver and wide receiver -- three different ways the Lions have shown the ability to be able to attack a defense in the passing game.
Stafford said he has a ton of confidence in all his skill position weapons right now. He goes to the open man and the best matchup. His teammates are stepping up and making plays for him.
“I’m just trying to spread the ball around and give our guys opportunities,” he said. “I think it’s just a testament to the guys we have on this team. A bunch of talented guys that can turn catches into big runs and big gains.”
PREPARING FOR THE UNKNOWN
The Philadelphia Eagles are a little banged up ahead of Sunday’s game with the Lions. They had 13 players show up on Wednesday’s injury report, and even changed Wednesday’s practice to a walkthrough because of all the injury problems they are dealing with.
With so much uncertainty with who might play for them and who might not, you’d think it would be a little harder week for Lions players as they prepare for the game not knowing who they might line up against on Sunday.
Is this a week where they have to study the backups just as much as the starters?
Stafford said he’ll look at a little more tape on a wider range of players this week. Safety Quandre Diggs will too, but he said he’s always made it part of his routine to study every player he could potentially see on gameday.
“I think you do that anyways,” Diggs said. “I think you never know who is going to be in and who’s going to be out. I would say we study everybody. That’s our job to know everyone on their roster, whoever is on the scouting report, that’s our job to know who’s locked in and ready to go.”
Diggs says he’s enjoyed studying different Eagles players this week, and likes the cat and mouse game that goes on during the week trying to figure out different techniques to try and contain opponents so they can’t beat him on Sunday.