Abdullah went through his fair share of ups and downs as a rookie and finished with 597 rushing yards (4.2 average) and two touchdowns.
I thought he showed a high level of maturity and dedication in an interview with Sirius NFL Radio this offseason.
“I feel like I showed some flashes last year, but in this league you can’t show flashes,” he said. “You have to be consistent. That definitely had a lot to do with growing pains.
“It also had a lot to do with me being immature as a player coming straight from college and not understanding what kind of preparation and mental focus it took for such a long amount of time.
“I know I have a lot to give to this team and a lot to give to this league. I know I can be a good back, but it starts with those little things I mentioned earlier.”
I’d be pretty surprised if we don't see a much-improved Abdullah in year two.
After the team's Week 9 bye, and with new-OC Jim Bob Cooter calling the plays, Abdullah averaged 11.5 touches for 55.3 yards and 0.12 TD per game. He averaged 4.65 YPC in that span, and the running game as a whole improved considerably under Cooter (+6.75 carries, +27.5 yards and +0.37 TD per game). Joique Bell saw 9.4 touches per game during that stretch, and that work is up for grabs now that Bell is gone. If healthy, Abdullah will probably lead the Lions in carries and yards, and may be a post-hype sleeper if his touches increase significantly. But Theo Riddick will serve as the primary pass-catcher out of the backfield, and Stevan Ridley and Zach Zenner could eat into Abdullah's early-down and short-yardage touches, so Abdullah's upside is somewhat capped.