Balance is critical when it comes to winning games in the NFL. Teams that are one dimensional, meaning a weakness with either run or pass plays, tend to struggle. Sometimes franchise quarterbacks are able to overcome this, but it presents difficulty.
One organization that has been in such a situation recently is the Detroit Lions. They have built their offense based on passing. Quarterback Mathew Stafford demonstrates elite arm strength as well as potential to become one of football’s best, but health has held him down with only one season of playing all 16 games. This issue adds importance on finding solid running backs, and the Lions have a player who could help provide relief.
Detroit selected Mikel Leshoure from Illinois in the second round of 2011’s NFL Draft. Expectations for Leshoure stood as eventually becoming a solid starting running back as his game displays power with an ability to gain yards up the middle. Leshoure also possess receiving talent after making 34 receptions last year. Nine rushing touchdowns in 2012 are a solid statistic. Injuries may be his biggest issue as a torn Achilles tendon caused him to miss the entire 2011 campaign. Such a concern probably led to Detroit adding talent.
Reggie Bush signed earlier this offseason after spending two seasons with the Miami Dolphins. Redemption definitely became evident as Bush recorded consecutive years of at least 986 yards. Prior to this time he had never recorded more than 581 yards with the New Orleans Saints. Open field playmaking is definitely his specialty, but there are other players that will also be fighting for playing time.
Joique Bell signed as a free agent from New Orleans in 2011. Bell averaged an impressive five yards per carry last year, but he is a bit of a journeyman having been on five teams during his career. There could be room for him in certain situations and kick returns. Theo Riddick from Notre Dame could help both as an occasional running back and wide receiver, but I don’t expect competition to expand this far.
If healthy, Leshoure will most likely tangle with Bush who is currently listed as number one on the team’s depth chart for starting honors. No matter who wins the other would have a profound role.
The newcomer currently has the advantage as Leshoure has missed two weeks of OTAs while dealing with hamstring issues. There seems to be confidence from head coach Jim Schwartz that Lehoure is not injured too seriously as he expects Leshoure to return soon and be a factor.