The Lions threw the ball more than any team in the NFL last season --- 666 times to be exact. They’ve spoken about being more balanced this season, but make no mistake about it, they have the best chance of scoring points when quarterback
When Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan says he wants a more balanced attack, what he means is he wants the option to attack a defense by either the pass, the run or both. The Lions will never run as much as they throw, not with the weapons they have in the passing game. They just want to be more efficient when they do run it.
“We want to do both and be effective at both,” Linehan said. “We certainly threw the ball more than we ran it last year and we had lots of success with that. But if the defense is set up to stop the pass, obviously the run is where you go. We want to be able to be a two-dimensional offense.”
The Lions were effective running the ball last year (averaging 4.3 yards per attempt) but they didn’t always have a lot of confidence in it once
The Lions and head coach Jim Schwartz could care less how the ball eventually gets into the end zone – as long as it gets there. They were the league’s fourth-highest scoring team (29.6 ppg) last year and the NFL’s fifth-ranked offense in total yards per game (396.1). However, what they’d like to have in their arsenal this year is the ability to make teams pay when they scheme to stop the pass.
“As long as you’re moving the sticks and as long as you’re getting in the end zone, it really doesn’t matter,” Schwartz said. “But we aspire to be multidimensional. We’d like to be able to make teams pay if they play one way or another.
“Calvin Johnson adds a different dynamic to the way defenses play us and a power running back and power running game will certainly help us in some situations.”
Lions general manager Martin Mayhew thinks he has the trio of backs to get the job done in Best, Leshoure and
“I like the group of guys we have,” Mayhew recently said of the running back position. “I think Jahvid has been outstanding (this offseason). I don’t know if you guys have seen him, but his speed and quickness, he looks great.
“Mikel is still recovering from his injury (torn Achilles tendon). Kevin Smith has looked good. That group of guys, if they’re healthy -- which is a really big if -- is an outstanding group of players.
The Lions could be sitting on a wealth of riches in the backfield if Best and Leshoure return 100-percent healthy as expected and all three backs can stay that way. But as Mayhew points out, that’s still a big if. Best, Leshoure and Smith have missed a combined 42 games in their Lions careers.
“The injury questions with all three are of concern,” Mayhew said. “We talked about adding a guy during the offseason but the more I saw those guys, the more I saw of
The Lions think they have the right mix of talent in the backfield to make their run game a serious weapon. If they’re right, and they can stay healthy, they have the potential to be even more explosive on offense in 2012 being more "balanced."