Found July 18, 2013 on
Football and Futbol:
After an explosive start in 2011, the Lion’s run game has lacked a certain pizzaz that caused defensive coordinators nightmares every week. Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell gave a valiant effort but could not hit the afterburners to create big plays and take pressure off Stafford and the receiving core. There is a silver lining in bringing Leshoure and Bell back for another season: If Reggie Bush goes down, both men can be relied upon to average 4+ yards per carry. The Lion’s run game last season was not necessarily a negative but it certainly was not a positive. While both men continued to push the ball forward, defenses just did not need to really account for them because they were never worried about being burned with a big play. That will need to be addressed in the coming season.
Enter Reggie Bush. Reggie Bush is not going to be the savior of the Detroit Lions by any means, but at minimum he will hold defenses accountable to the Running Backs. In addition, now Bush is an excellent receiving back and can create nightmare mismatches for opponents’ Linebacker cores. As long as the key pieces of this offense stay healthy (Stafford, Johnson, Bush, in that order) the Lions have a legitimate shot at taking a wildcard seed. While it is difficult for lifelong Lions fans to –really- expect a playoff berth, especially in one of the toughest divisions in football, the Lions have the pieces in place to be a contender.
But what if Bush does get hurt? The depth at the position goes downhill pretty quickly. Also on the roster are Fullback Shaun Chapas, and Running Backs Joique Bell, Mikel Leshoure, Steven Miller, Montell Owens, and Theo Riddick. Riddick and Miller are rookies this season, and I believe only one will stay on the roster. The Lions spent a draft pick on Riddick but that does not ensure he will earn a spot on the 53-man roster. He does provide some of the same versatility as Bush from his experience playing as a slot receiver for two years, but he is nowhere near as fast. Miller is slightly faster than Riddick and has a good shot at becoming the return man. In reality the amount either man can contribute on special teams is what will earn them their roster spot, they are fighting to be the fourth Running Back on the depth chart and have long odds of ever getting carries this season. Montell Owens is another person whose special teams prowess will determine his roster spot. He did well for Jacksonville last season and will probably be brought on as a specialist.
That leaves Chapas, Bell, and Leshoure. The Lions’ offense does not need a Fullback. Last season Chapas had 0 carries and 1 reception for 6 yards. The role a Fullback would fill in Scott Linehan’s is going to be filled by a Tight End (much to my chagrin). Chapas should be cut and allowed to move to an offense that might actually utilize him instead of spinning his wheels here in Detroit. Leshoure is two years removed from an Achille’s Tendon tear that slowed him down last season and made him lack explosiveness. If that is fully healed then he should take the #2 spot on the depth chart. Either way, this season should be his last chance to prove his effectiveness. Bell actually did better than Leshoure last season averaging 1.3 more yards per carry. To put that in perspective, Bell was 35% more effective on run plays and was the better receiving back as well with 47% higher yards per reception. Bell averaged 9.3 yards per reception while Leshoure averaged 6.3 yards per reception.
All-in-all this entire Running Back group is relying upon Bush to stay healthy. While Leshoure and Bell are serviceable, they did not prove effective for what the Lions’ offense needs. Explosive backfield play that draws coverage off of Stafford and Johnson.
BEST OF MAXIM
Here are three under-the-radar players to watch when the Detroit Lions open training camp next week. All three could play key roles:
Cornerback Ron Bartell
The assumption is that rookie Darius Slay or one of the team's 2012 draft picks, probably Bill Bentley, will win the vacant starting job at corner.
But what if the youngsters aren't ready?
Don't overlook the 6...
The Detroit Lions have released running back Jahvid Best, a first-round draft pick from 2010 who hasn't played since October 2011 because of concussion problems.
General manager Martin Mayhew calls Best as fine a person and professional as he has ever worked with. Best says Lions fans and the people of Detroit will always hold a special place in his heart.
Best accounted for...
Cutting a young, talented player is not something a team ever wants to do, but if his health prevents him from playing than the team has no choice. That is the conundrum the Detroit Lions faced in respect to running back Jahvid Best. As much as the team may not have liked doing
On a Monday night two years ago, Jahvid Best electrified the Detroit Lions' raucous, sellout crowd at Ford Field with an 88-yard touchdown run against the Chicago Bears.
His future looked very promising at that moment.His game-breaking speed was one of the reasons the Lions got off to a 5-0 start that season.
A week later, however, everything changed. Best suffered another...
Last year, BYU had its highest NFL Draft pick since 1982 (Jim McMahon) when Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah was the Detroit Lions 5th overall selection, despite starting less than 10 games in his college career. While it was BYU’s first draft pick since 2010, the BYU talent pool has grown substantially in the past few seasons, and the team can expect to have at least three selections...
The Detroit Lions announced today that they have entered into a six-year partnership with the Big Ten for a bowl game that will be played at Ford Field beginning in 2014. The game will be officially named once sponsorship agreements are in place. So hopefully that ENDS THE Motor City Bowl, or the Pizza City Bowl or the Pizza Bowl or whatever.
Suggestions: 8 Mile Bowl, China Dolls...
The Big Ten and the Detroit Lions have announced a six-year agreement to play a bowl game at Ford Field, and a person familiar with the situation says the Atlantic Coast Conference is expected to provide the opponent.
The new bowl will start in 2014 and it has not been named or sponsored.
The person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press the new Detroit postseason...
In December, Lions coach Jim Schwartz strongly denied a Sports Illustrated report that claimed tension had developed between him and general manager Martin Mayhew for taking chances on troublesome players last season.
But Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com wrote in a story posted Wednesday that “one will likely have to go” based on the talk that there is friction between Schwartz...
When the Detroit Lions made running back Jahvid Best their
first-round draft pick in 2010, the team had high hopes for the talented ball
carrier. Unfortunately, those plans were stalled by a concussion Best suffered
in 2011 and continued to feel the effects of last year. Detroit ultimately
decided to part ways with Best yesterday, cutting the running back, according
to Gregg Rosenthal...
The Lions waived running back Jahvid Best on Wednesday.Fantasy Spin:Best sustained a concussion during the 2011 season and hasn't played since. In all likelihood, the 24-year-old has played his last down of NFL football.
The Detroit Lions released Javhid Best on Wednesday, ending the concussion-plagued running back's time with the team, and, perhaps his days as a professional football player. But really, it felt like a move that was four years in the making.
After suffering one of the most startling concussions you'll ever see in what turned out to be his final game at Cal, in 2009, Best...
The Big Ten had eight wide receivers named to the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award, which is awarded to the top wide receiver in college football this week and today the Detroit Lions officially confirmed and announced plans for a new bowl game involving the Big Ten as a partner. Insert your Matt Millen wide receiver NFL Draft pick jokes here folks. Go ahead, we'll give you...
The woman with Reggie Bush during Wednesday's ESPYs was not Kim Kardashian, but actually the mother of his child, Lilit Avagyan.
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