The reviews for the first two weeks of Mikel Leshoure’s performance are mixed. He sat out the first two weeks of the season serving a suspension and his return was highly anticipated for the Detroit Lions. However, the first game against the Tennessee Titans was decent despite the loss, but the second one versus the Minnesota Vikings was less than average in results. Why didn’t he meet expectations in terms of carries, catches or big plays?
Here’s a breakdown of his numbers.
26 carries for 100 yards. Longest carry was 12 yards, making for a decent average of 3.8 yards per carry. He had four catches for 34 yards and one touchdown on the day.
13 carries for a total of 26 yards. One of those carries was for 14 yards, so do the math and it leaves 12 carries for 12 yards. Not impressive. He had four catches for 37 yards which is decent, until you factor in the fumble.
That doesn’t answer the question of why he isn’t delivering higher numbers in every category. But to be fair, there are a lot of players not delivering right now. The blame can’t solely be placed on Leshoure for not gaining yards on the ground versus Minnesota. The offensive line needs to properly block and pull in order for the play to be executed like it should. He can’t run through a mountain of defenders without a little bit of help. The Vikings held the Lions and stopped the run game very effectively, which ultimately shut down Leshoure.
The Titans didn’t seem to have prepared as well against Leshoure since he was coming off a suspension and not expected to have as many carries as he ended up getting. The surprise might have allowed him to break through and get those 100 yards for the day.
One good and one not so good game is a fair description. Having to sit out from practice for two weeks could have gotten him off to a slow start in his delivery. But he did practice with the team before the suspension and has had two weeks after his suspension to learn the plays. Realistically, two weeks is not enough time to accurately gauge Leshoure’s abilities overall. There weren’t too many players that DID have a good game against the Vikings, so he shouldn’t be singled out in this instance either.
So why isn’t Leshoure delivering big plays, big numbers and big runs? Why isn’t anyone on the team delivering the numbers they were predicted to have? Lack of cohesion, lack of focus…they could all play in to the disappointing start the Lions have had as a team. Give Leshoure two more games and then another evaluation to see what he delivers after a bye week and some extra practice and rest.