ALLEN PARK — Running back Zach Zenner has been patiently waiting to get on the field two games into the Lions’ season.
With Dwayne Washington missing practices on Wednesday and Thursday with a quad injury, there’s a good chance Zenner will be active against the Atlanta Falcons at Ford Field on Sunday.
Last season when Lions running backs Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick were injured, Zenner played in 14 games with four starts.
He got stronger as 2016 progressed. In the final five regular season games, he had 51 carries for 225 yards (4.4 yards per carry) and three touchdowns.
In the first two games so far, Abdullah and Riddick are healthy. Washington, with nine carries for 31 yards, is the third back while Zenner has been inactive.
“There’s a lot of factors that go into who’s up, who’s down and all that stuff, and I’ll leave some of those to Coach (Jim Caldwell),’’ offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter said on Thursday.
Pressed further, Cooter said he remains confident in Zenner.
Caldwell said many factors, including special teams play, go into who is inactive on game days.
“It does not certainly have any indication of what kind of – (it) shouldn’t give you any indication of what we think about Zach. Zach can run the football. I’ve told you that I don’t know how many times. Check back in the records. Zach is capable. And if he gets an opportunity to do it this week, I think you’ll see him get it done,’’ Caldwell said. “Believe in him. He’s a smart guy, makes very few mistakes, and well rounded.”
It would be natural for Zenner to be disappointed, but he’s taking all of this in stride.
“I don’t view it as tough I would view it as something that takes a little discipline no matter what happens,’’ Zenner said. “I think having that sort of discipline is helpful to sticking around. If you were to fall off your routine and do things differently because you expected to be down or whatever, when you do get your chance you wouldn’t be ready.’’
In other words, Zenner will be ready.