Lions’ Craig Reynolds earns right to get more playing time
The Denver Broncos have one of the NFL’s best rush defenses this season. Heading into Sunday’s game vs. the Detroit Lions, only five teams have rushed for over 100 yards in a game against them. Furthermore, their record was 1-4 against those teams.
Then Sunday afternoon happened.
The Lions ran the ball 21 times for 118 yards on Sunday vs. the Broncos. And get this––leading them was Craig Reynolds. Yes, the same Craig Reynolds who’s been MIA since his preseason showing. He finished with 11 carries for 83 yards. In the end, however, those efforts didn’t matter. The Lions fell 38-10 to the Broncos. They join Washington as the only two teams to rush for 100+ yards against the Broncos this season and lose.
Quite the company to be in, right?
As mentioned, Reynolds led the Lions’ rushing attack on Sunday. D’Andre Swift is still out nursing an injury. And on Friday, the Lions placed Jamaal Williams on the COVID/reserve list. Because of this, Reynolds and Godwin Igwebuike shouldered the load for the ground game.
Reynolds’ display on Sunday afternoon was shocking.
For a player to come from the practice squad to be very efficient against one of the NFL’s best rush defenses is impressive. It was so impressive that it’s a wonder why he isn’t the Lions’ third option at running back. He raised eyebrows in the preseason, scoring a touchdown in less than 24 hours of being with the team. Reynolds raised even more eyebrows with the way he ran the ball Sunday. He showcased elusivity, quick cuts, speed, vision, and a little power. The Lions offensive line did a hell of a job with their blocking scheme, so they deserve some credit. They created some lanes for Reynolds to be effective.
Reynolds still had to put in the work, though.
With four games left in the season, the Lions should consider shutting down D’Andre Swift so he can heal, and keep Reynolds on the active roster to finish the year. Sitting at 1-11-1, why risk further injury to Swift. He’s a big part of the team’s future. Let him come back next year at full strength. Reynolds showcased enough to be considered for a bigger role on the team. See what he can do with more snaps. At this point, why not?
The Lions don’t have to make any immediate decisions. There are a bunch of creative ways the Lions could go about giving Craig Reynolds a shot. Regardless of what they decide, they have to figure out a way to keep him around.