clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Cardinals vs. Lions preview: Bruce Arians focuses on Ameer Abdullah, not Calvin Johnson

New, comments

Rather than talking about Calvin Johnson, the AZ head coach speaks of a rookie.

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

When you think about the Detroit Lions, you think about Matthew Stafford and his big arm throwing to Calvin Johnson. You don't really think about rookie running backs, right? But when Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians spoke to reporters on Wednesday, it wasn't Megatron or Stafford, or even Golden Tate. He talked about Ameer Abdullah.

It might seem odd. The Lions are the league's worst in rushing yards per carry at 2.7. They are averaging only 47 yards per game as a team. Abdullah has only 34 carries in three games and is averaging only 3.4 yards per carry.

But Arians isn't underestimating him.

"I really liked Ameer Abdullah coming out," Arians said of the rookie. "He's a guy that can make you miss. We've got to do a great job of fundamentally tackling this guy in the running game and the passing game.

"Obviously the big names, but Ameer's a guy that they've added since last year who can really do a lot of things - screen game and just making a guy miss and going on a long run."

Maybe it is because of the second half explosion rookie Todd Gurley had last week. Maybe it is because the game plan against a guy like Calvin Johnson is easy -- stick Patrick Peterson on him. Maybe it is because with the rushing stats the Lions have, it is easy to overlook a guy who can be productive as a back and as a receiver. Screens were a problem in Week 1. Gap control and tackling was an issue in the fourth  quarter of last week's game.

Now Arians is talking about both.

Maybe PP vs Megatron is what will lead the way as a matchup to watch, but maybe we should pay attention to how the defense prepares for Abdullah.