Jim Caldwell expects to have his starting running back this week.
There has been a lot of hand wringing about the future of Ameer Abdullah, both in the immediate future and going forward in 2018 and beyond. The Detroit Lions’ surprising move to scratch Abdullah on Sunday despite him feeling good enough to play cast doubt on their faith in the former second-round pick. We even asked readers if they thought Abdullah should play this week, with him now being fully healthy—80 percent said yes.
Count head coach Jim Caldwell among those 80 percent, as he all but confirmed Abdullah will play against the Chicago Bears. When asked if he expected Abdullah to play on Saturday, Caldwell said, “I do, as long as things keep trending in the right direction, but I think he’s ready to go.”
This will be Abdullah’s first game back after missing two games due to a neck injury. In his absence, Theo Riddick has been the starting tailback for Detroit. While Riddick struggled to run the ball in those two games (19 rushes, 50 yards, 2 TDs), he was a big factor in the passing game (11 catches, 105 yards).
Getting Abdullah back into the lineup will give Detroit their best pure runner back at their disposal, but the Lions have still struggled to establish the run even with him in the lineup. Abdullah hasn’t reached 60 rushing yards since way back in Week 4. In his last game against the Bears, he ran for just 22 yards on 11 carries.
We’ll see how the Lions plan on using Abdullah this week, but for now, it seems like they have a little more faith in him than it looked like last week.