While the Detroit Lions were a tough 1-3 heading into and through their bye week, the fact they have struggled to put away wins does not diminish the excellent play of several players.
Though the Lions have struggled, they’ve gotten solid play from several players early this season to help lead in their games early on. The age of these players ranges from old to young, and it’s true the team is getting surprise production as well as balanced production in several spots.
So who has been most impressive so far? Here’s a look at the names.
Adrian Peterson, RB
Peterson was signed the week before the Lions played in Week 1 and wasted little time showing his stuff to the team and the offense. Through 3 weeks, Peterson has only ran for 1 touchdown, but he’s put up 245 rushing yards and looked like one a player who is capable of remaining a bell cow in the NFL. Coming into the season, nobody was sure what Peterson had left but it’s clear he has plenty left in the tank as he has proved to the Lions, often getting the majority of snaps at running back. What Peterson has done has been impressive, and he clearly hasn’t slowed down a bit.
Tracy Walker, S
If only Walker could get some playing time and keep it, he would likely be even higher on such lists. When Walker has played, he has been aggressive and tough in the backfield and a player who looks responsible on defense. Will Harris didn’t earn any time over Walker and he shouldn’t see the field in comparison with a young man playing at a solid level within the defense. Walker continues to look like a young star in the making, and the Lions need to keep him on the field and allow him to grow. If they do, he could be a potential Pro Bowler in the future for the team.
Jonah Jackson, G
It’s not a stretch to say one of the best complements someone can pay a rookie along an NFL offensive line is being invisible. So far, Jackson has been very invisible for the Lions this season and has been solid as a rookie up front. He’s getting plenty of aplomb from around the league for his play as well, having cracked PFF’s top rookie lineman class list thus far. There’s a long way to go on the season of course, but Jackson has been steady and solid and a player that has done what has needed to adjust quick to the NFL. The Lions have needed that in a big way, so it’s nice to see him delivering.
Taylor Decker, T
Just has Jackson has been invisible up front, Decker has played a solid, quiet role for the Lions so far for the team’s offensive line. After signing his new contract, there was some question within the fanbase of whether or nor Decker would deserve the deal. He’s answered it so far with outstanding play at the tackle spot which has been huge for Detroit’s line given the inconsistency on the other side. This is just the kind of season the Lions needed out of Decker in order to feel good about him moving forward on the offense, and it’s nice to see him delivering in a big way.
Jack Fox, P
Not only is the kicking elite for the Lions on special teams, but the punting as well. Fox has been dominant thus far for the Lions, and he is far and away the best punter in the league so far according to Pro Football Focus metrics. A recent look at those metrics found Fox essentially running away with the top punter title early on in the 2020 season. He’s also taken home the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month award for September. Thus far, it isn’t a stretch to say the Lions have solved their punting problems with the big leg of Fox booming their kicks. He’s been a breath of fresh air early on. That’s great news moving forward for the team.