A hundred yards. A thousand yards.
These are the benchmarks by which NFL running backs measure themselves in a game and over a season.
Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson accepts and embraces this. He finally breathed life into the Lions moribund run game last season when he became the team’s first running back to rush for 100 yards in a game since Reggie Bush in 2013.
As the Lions prepare to face the Green Bay Packers’ 26th-ranked run defense Monday night, Johnson is on pace to rush for 1,004 yards this season. That’s a goal he has had for a while, and it would make him the Lions’ first 1,000-yard rusher since Bush in 2013.
“It’d be huge for myself because I thought I could have got there last year,” he said Thursday. “Couple different things go well, obviously the (knee) injury doesn’t happen, probably could have got there last year.
“So for me, that was a goal of mine in college. I continue to keep that as a goal. It’s hard to do in this league. A thousand yards, it is very hard to do. So it’s just always kind of been a little dream, a little, small goal of mine to be able to do that.”
Johnson finished with 641 yards in 10 games last year, which put him on pace for 1,026 yards before a knee injury landed him on injured reserve.
More than anything, Johnson knows the key to unlocking the 1,000-yard achievement is running for 100 yards as often as possible, though he says being efficient with his yards-per-carry average is equally important.
“I think it’s 50/50 with that,” he said. “I think going over 100 — you want to be efficient, but going over 100 is a milestone in this league. You do that, you’re team is more than likely going to win, in my opinion.
“But hey, if you don’t get to 100, on eight carries though you get 70, have a good yards per carry, that’s pretty good as well. I think it’s 50/50 with that.”
Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has done a good job sticking with Johnson and the run despite a somewhat tepid start. As Johnson’s workload has increased, so has his production.
“I can go to really the last game that he played, I mean the last couple games that he’s played, he’s really been beginning to trust the schemes that are going on in front of him,” Bevell said. “I think he’s beginning to trust himself in kind of what we’re asking him to do.
“… I think I mentioned it, I think it was last week, that he’s doing a great job of putting his foot in the ground. He’s getting north and south, he’s being a physical runner, he’s picking up his feet, he’s running through armed tackles where maybe the first couple weeks there was a little bit different. Really been impressed with him the last couple weeks in kind of taking what we’re asking him to do and hope we continue to grow from there.”
Contact Carlos Monarrez at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.
Published at Fri, 11 Oct 2019 10:01:05 +0000