RB Zach Zenner - Free Agent

5-11, 223Born: 9-13-1991College: South Dakota StateDrafted: ---

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Game Recaps

2018 Week 14 vs ARI (12 / 54 / 1 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Zach Zenner opened the game spelling LeGarrette Blount with success on the second series of the game. Zenner had success early but saw an expanded role in the fourth quarter as Detroit was killing the clock. Zenner carried the ball on 7 of the 8 snaps on the final scoring drives while Detroit was attempting to salt away the game and ultimately scored a goal line touchdown. The increased usage is notable as Blount was the primary running back with Kerryon Johnson out of the lineup. The injury status of Johnson and Blount's role are keys to monitor during the week.

2018 Week 15 vs BUF (10 / 45 / 1 rush, 4 / 3 / 0 / 0 rec)

Zach Zenner ran as the starter against Buffalo, after finishing strong last week against Arizona. Zenner ran with better explosion and burst than LeGarrette Blount, which was a good upgrade for the Detroit offense. Zenner can run on the interior and get to the edge of the defense as well as contribute in the passing game. LeGarrette Blount received two carries inside the five-yard line in the first half but was stopped for no gain on each. On the next drive, Zenner got an opportunity for carries inside the five-yard line and scored a touchdown. His first carry was initially ruled a touchdown but overturned on review, but Zenner was able to convert on the next play for a touchdown. Kerryon Johnson remains the starter in Detroit, but Zenner will likely draw another start next week if Johnson misses the game against Minnesota.

2018 Week 16 vs MIN (8 / 45 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 22 / 0 rec)

Zach Zenner was a highlight in the Detroit Lions offense that struggled against Minnesota on Sunday. Zenner showed well on multiple runs where he had to avoid penetration with lateral cutting ability and was able to get to the second level. Zenner runs with more athleticism than LeGarrette Blount but continues to maintain a timeshare with Blount. Zenner is the far superior runner and capable of avoiding defenders and creating on his own. Zenner added two catches out of the backfield. He will face Green Bay in week 17.

2018 Week 17 vs GB (21 / 93 / 1 rush, 2 / 1 / 30 / 0 rec)

Zach Zenner had a strong day against the Green Bay Packers. Zenner rotated with LeGarrette Blount throughout the game and had clear better success. He had a goal line touchdown called back by holding and had a second touchdown called back by penalty but scored on the next play. Zenner was an effective interior runner throughout the game, with the ability to set up multiple cuts to create successful runs. Zenner was also involved in the screen game, dropping a dump off pass, before setting up a good screen pass later in the game. Zenner has shown well with Kerryon Johnson on IR and may have an opportunity to back Johnson up in 2019. Zenner is an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.

2017 Week 3 vs ATL (3 / 5 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Zach Zenner was active for the first time this season, with Dwayne Washington injured. Zenner handled the lone Detroit carry in the red zone, but otherwise was limited to three carries on the day. Whether Zenner or Washington serve as the third running back, they are limited to short yardage and goal line carries, with Abdullah carrying the primary workload on running plays.

2017 Week 4 vs MIN (3 / 0 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Zach Zenner saw three carries for no yards. His carries all came in clock killing duty late in the fourth quarter. He also saw work in pass protection on passing downs but was not targeted.

2017 Week 5 vs CAR (3 / 11 / 1 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Zach Zenner again functioned as the third running back for Detroit against Kansas City. Zenner converted one of his two short yardage runs, and converted his lone goal line carry for a one-yard touchdown.

2017 Week 6 vs NO (1 / 0 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Zach Zenner operated as the clear third back. He failed on a short yardage attempt, his lone carry of the day. Zenner did serve as a pass protector ahead of Theo Riddick early in the game.

2017 Week 13 vs BAL (1 / 4 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Zach Zenner was the second back in the game, but only managed one carry for 4 yards. He was not involved in any high leverage situations.

2016 Week 4 vs CHI (3 / 12 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 22 / 0 rec)

Zenner entered the game after Washington was injured and saw very limited action because of how the game played out. He did have a red zone touch as he got a carry on third and goal from the one yard line. Bears linebacker John Timu made a great play, blitzing through the open A gap and blowing up the play before it got started and forcing a two yard loss. Zenner caught a screen pass and showed some speed, beating the linebacker and turning the corner for a 22-yard gain helping the Lions to move off of their goal line. He also had another carry that went for 11 yards, showing quickness and good vision while getting the ball north and south in a hurry. Zenner is also a nice alternative as a between the tackles runner and can be productive in the right scenario.

2016 Week 5 vs PHI (7 / 9 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 23 / 0 rec)

Zenner entered the game as a change of pace for the more elusive Riddick and saw most of his work come on runs between the tackles. He had multiple carries go for negative yards and offset the negative yards with short gains, but he really had no room to run as plays were getting snuffed out before they started in the backfield. Eagles defenders Marcus Smith and Brandon Graham both got to Zenner behind the line of scrimmage on two separate plays, stopping him negative yardage. Zenner tallied nine yards on seven carries. His biggest play of the day came on a screen that came against the action of the play, and went for 19 yards. Zenner caught both targets in the game.

2016 Week 6 vs LA (14 / 58 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 19 / 0 rec)

Zenner started the football game and carried the main workload for the Lions as a runner. The Lions did help him with a lead fullback at times, and they went heavy at times with an extra offensive tackle to give him a little runway to get up to speed. The Lions also got creative at times, motioning a receiver and faking a reverse while handing the ball to Zenner going the other way. Zenner's first carry of the game went for 15 yards on this type of play. Zenner took what the defense gave him, getting north and south in a hurry, but the majority of the time he had very little room to operate between the tackles. He caught a pass in the first half and showed nice lateral quickness to make defensive back Mark Barron miss, taking the screen pass for 15 yards. Zenner had a goal-line carry that was stuffed by linebacker Alec Ogletree that went for a loss of three yards. He was also stuffed behind the line of scrimmage for a three-yard loss as defensive lineman William Hayes buried Lions guard Graham Glasgow as he has pulling, and the pile of bodies gave nowhere for Zenner to set his feet. The Lions caught on to what the Rams were doing up front and on a draw play they allowed the defensive ends to get aggressively up the field as Zenner got the delayed draw. He hit the hole quickly and took the ball into the second level for 19 yards. The Lions had a hard time blocking the interior and there wasn't a lot of room to run and they tried sweep tosses to get Zenner to the edge of the defense. While watching Zenner, something stands out, and it is the fact that while he runs hard and with good pad level, there are times when he's fighting for yards that he gets upright and exposes his body and takes gigantic hits. This happened multiple times in this game and he'll have to do a better job of protecting himself going forward.

2016 Week 7 vs WAS (9 / 29 / 1 rush, 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Zenner started the football game and split the workload for the Lions as a runner with running back Justin Forsett. The Lions came out getting chunks of yardage early in the running game as Zenner had carries of eight and nine yards early in this contest. The Lions tried to get Zenner to the edge but he can't get there quick enough and those runs got stopped before they get started. The Lions set up a screen with Zenner flaring out to the right but Stafford got a little quick with the throw and threw sidearm with the ball falling out in front of Zenner. Linebacker Will Compton blew up a 3rd-and-1 play and gave Zenner nowhere to run with the ball and Zenner lost two yards on the play. Zenner did get a red zone carry as the Lions lined him up as a fullback and handed the ball to him quickly and he scored from one yard out. He finished working very hard and running the ball with great effort, but was limited from a touch perspective and the Lions inability to effectively block and run the ball.

2016 Week 13 vs NO (9 / 40 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Zenner came in at the 6:15 mark of the third quarter replacing an injured Washington and was immediately effective on quick hitting, decisive runs through the middle of the Saints defense. Zenner gets downhill extremely quick and carries bodies into the second level to gain yardage as a runner. He immediately made his carries count as he hit the Saints for two gains of nine yards, an eight-yard run, a five-yard gain and another for six yards. Zenner ran hard and finished with nine carries that went for 40 yards.

2016 Week 14 vs CHI (7 / 36 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec)

Zenner runs at an entirely different pace than Washington and it takes him a split-second longer to hit the hole, but that also allows the blockers to get set up in front of him and at times his physical approach allows for better running lanes. He wasn't nearly as involved as Washington on Sunday, but he did take advantage of the limited opportunity that came his way. The Lions did not run the ball well in the first half but ran it extremely well (for them) in the second half. Zenner had three carries for six yards in the first half but went for 30 yards on four carries in the second half. He had runs of 13 and 11 yards in th3 second half and helped to keep the chains moving. Zenner was targeted twice and caught both passes for nine yards.

2016 Week 15 vs NYG (3 / 12 / 0 rush, 5 / 4 / 52 / 0 rec)

Zenner's first carry of the day came in the red zone and went for seven yards but he fumbled as Giants safety Leon Hall put his helmet right on the ball and jarred it out. The ball was fumbled at the four yard line and recovered five yards deep in the end zone by Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon. It was a devastating play for the Loins hopes in this game but Hall deserves credit for making a great play. Zenner had two more carries total for a total of five yards. He was targeted five times in the passing game and caught four balls that went for 52 yards, 33 of them coming on a screen pass on the last play if the game as the Giants were in prevent defense. Zenner was used in the screen game as the Loins were missing running back Theo Riddick and he caught two screen passes that went for four yards and another that went for seven yards.

2016 Week 16 vs DAL (12 / 67 / 2 rush, 3 / 2 / 25 / 0 rec)

Zenner was incredibly effective on Monday night as he showed great vision and patience throughout the game as a runner and a receiver. Interestingly, Zenner had 12 total carries in the game but 10 came in the first half. Zenner tallied 64 yards on his 10 first-half carries and scored twice in the first half. He also caught both of his targets and totaled 25 yards receiving in the first half. Zenner had 3 yards on his two carries in the second half and was targeted once in the screen game but the ball was batted down at the line of scrimmage. Zenner's first carry went for 20 yards and he displayed great patience and vision, and he was helped by a solid scheme and good blocking as the Lions trapped the defensive end who came too far up the field as Zenner ran between him and the guard into space. Zenner runs with very good pad level and power and when the Lions allowed him to get through a hole without contact he gave the Cowboys fits as he was tough to bring down and always fell forward gaining that extra little bit of yardage on every play. Zenner scored on a seven-yard touchdown on another play that allowed the defensive end (Randy Gregory) to aggressively come up the field. Zenner ran into that opening and showed great vision to cut the ball outside and he ran untouched into the end zone. Zenner continued to show great patience and vision in the first half and scored on another run, this one coming from five yards out. Zenner got through the right side of the line of scrimmage untouched and fell forwards near the goal line and got just enough the score the touchdown. Zenner isn't an electric runner and looks like a plodder but he gets the job done and played a very good game in Dallas on Monday night.

2016 Week 17 vs GB (20 / 69 / 1 rush, 5 / 4 / 41 / 0 rec)

Zenner was incredibly effective on Sunday in the first half touching the ball 19 times and registering 100 total yards and a score. Zenner continues to display great vision and the ability to maximize the yardage available on most of his runs as he falls forward and takes everything that is there. He was a huge part of the offense in the first half as he had some big runs of 14 and 15 yards. He made defenders miss to gain first downs and ran hard throughout the game. Zenner scored on a one-yard plunge in the first half and did a good job of keeping the chains moving which took the ball out of the Packers hands. Zenner was targeted four times in the first half, catching three passes for 35 yards. Much like last week versus Dallas, the Lions completely abandoned the run in the second half as Zenner only touched the ball five times in the second half and only once in the fourth quarter. The Lions continue to be unreliable from a volume standpoint with Zenner as they choose to be one dimensional even when Zenner is doing good things on offense. Zenner had a solid game overall and continues to show why he should be a part of this offense going forward.

2016 Week 18 vs SEA (11 / 34 / 0 rush, 6 / 6 / 54 / 0 rec)

Zenner was fairly ineffective throughout the game as a runner on Saturday night. He wasn't utilized heavily and only had 11 carries throughout the game. Zenner's best run came on a run designed to go to the right side of the formation, and tackle Cornelius Lucas kicked out the defensive end while guard Larry Warford showed his power and movement ability to kick the defensive tackle out of the hole. Zenner showed good vision to cut back inside of Warford and took the ball for 17 yards. That was the best for Zenner, and he really had no room to run at all in this game. He ran hard and with very good pad lean and he almost always finished his runs falling forward but the Seahawks did a very good job of limiting his room and squeezed him throughout the game. Zenner didn't leave many yards on the field and took everything the Seahawks gave him in the running game. He was heavily involved as a pass catcher as he was targeted six times and caught all six passes that totaled 54 yards. Four of these came on screen passes, and one of the highlights came on a screen pass to the right where Zenner made a great catch and he took the pass and went for 23 yards. Zenner was targeted on an out route coming out of the backfield that went for five yards and caught another pass in the middle of the field as a safety valve that went for seven yards. For the most part it was tough sledding for Zenner, but the Seahawks defense is a stiff test for running games, especially for those teams without great run blocking.

2015 Week 1 vs SD (2 / 6 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Zach Zenner saw early action, rushing for 6 yards on two carries. He did not see the ball following that action.

2015 Week 4 vs SEA (2 / 9 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 4 / 0 rec)

An exciting prospect in the preseason, Zach Zenner got an opportunity to see real time action against Seattle with Joique Bell out with an injury. While only utilized on two running plays and one pass out of the backfield, Zenner gained positive yards on all three targets, looked motivated, and displayed vision and strength by gaining positive yards consistently.

2015 Week 5 vs ARI (10 / 30 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 7 / 0 rec)

Running back Zach Zenner finally found some significant action when he replaced Ameer Abdullah on the offense. Exactly half of Zenner's touches were in the realm of decently impressive, as he was used both inside and outside the tackles, as well as one swing pass, for gains of 7 or more yards. The other half of his touches were for 0-2 yards, all of which were runs in between the tackles. His role would likely have been larger if the score was reversed, as Zenner was not used at the end of the first half or at all in the fourth quarter.

2015 Week 6 vs CHI (3 / 15 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Used on three rushing plays before exiting due injury, Zach Zenner was quietly productive. Detroit would have liked to see more of him in this game, but will have to wait until next season as Zenner was place on IR Monday with cracked ribs and a collapsed lung. This is an unfortunate loss for Detroit.