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Teryl Austin: Trying to tackle Ameer Abdullah like “grasping at air”

Ameer Abdullah


The Lions took running back Ameer Abdullah in the second round of this year’s draft in hopes that he could provide them with more offensive punch than they got from recent high picks Mikel Leshoure and Jahvid Best.

Count defensive coordinator Teryl Austin among those who think that Abdullah has what it takes to fulfill those hopes. Austin said Saturday that his unit has found it difficult to stop Abdullah during training camp practices.

“We can’t even tackle that guy,” Austin said, via the Detroit Free Press. “We can’t even touch him. He’s like grasping at air.”

Running backs coach Curtis Modkins took a more reserved stance on his charge, saying that while Abdullah shows “unique ability” there is a difference between impressing in practices and impressing against opposing defenses on Sundays. That’s certainly true and Abdullah says he has “so much I have to improve” before he’ll thrive in the NFL, but the team wouldn’t have used a second-round pick on him if they weren’t confident he could do so.

With Joique Bell still working his way back to practice after knee and Achilles surgeries, Abdullah should get plenty of opportunities in the preseason to show whether his ability to make people miss translates beyond friendly competition with the Lions defense. His first crack comes against the Jets this week.