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This player is key to improving special teams

Injured in the preseason, this former undrafted free agent returns to the Detroit Lions to help save their ailing special teams unit.

It was sad to see team underdog Zach Zenner land on Injured Reserve prior to the start of the 2018 season. Now, the running back is healthy and ready to contribute for the Detroit Lions.

A back injury that wasn’t thought as serious gave Lions fans like myself hope Zenner would return to the active roster. Those hopes were dashed once he was released with an injury settlement, making him a free agent.

Not so fast! The Doctor is here with Detroit, again. The failings of the coverage units on special teams and the release of running back Ameer Abdullah has given him an opportunity.

The Lions’ return units are bad, but so is the coverage teams. They must’ve felt Zenner would make more of a difference covering kicks and punts than Abdullah as a kick returner.

Offensively, there’s nothing the newly signed runner can’t do well. His blocking is his specialty. The most underrated part of his game is by far his ability to get downfield and make plays/tackles on special teams.

Overall, it looks like an upgrade for Detroit. It also gives a fresh start to their former second-round pick, who’s been the subject of many heckling fans, begging for his release.

I can’t say Bruce Ellington is a better option, who’ll likely take snaps as a punt and kick returner. I understand Ellington fills a wide receiver spot, primarily in the slot, vacated by former wideout Andy Jones, but I don’t feel the Lions need five of them. With running back Theo Riddick more of a pass catcher anyways, I would’ve kept Abdullah.

Next: Lions draft picks: The good, the bad, and the ugly since 2010

As an undrafted free agent in 2015, Zach Zenner has beat the odds, year in and year out. His contributions will likely go unnoticed to most fans. Those who are followers of Zach and know football will understand the impact he’ll bring however many games for the Detroit Lions.

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