Caldwell impressed by Curtis Modkins, expects big things from ground game

Posted Apr 5, 2014

The Lions saw tremendous improvement in their run game in Modkins' first season on the staff, including Reggie Bush becoming a 1,000-yard rusher for only the second time in his career

When the Detroit Lions fired Jim Schwartz shortly after last year’s 7-9 season, running back Reggie Bush lobbied management for running backs coach and run-game coordinator Curtis Modkins to remain on the new coaches staff.

Joique BellRB Joique Bell (Photo: G. Smith)

The team hired Jim Caldwell as their new head coach Jan. 14 and it didn't take long for him to retain Modkins on his staff in the same role.

In Modkins’ first season in Detroit in 2013, the Lions run game saw a resurgence.

Bush became a 1,000-yard rusher (1,006) for just the second time in his career after joining the team as a free agent. He was the Lions' first 1,000-yard rusher since 2004.

Bush and fellow running back Joique Bell became the first tandem in NFL history to each rush for at least 500 yards and have 500 receiving yards.

Caldwell has worked with Modkins for only a couple months now, but Modkins has already made an impression on the veteran Caldwell.

“I’ve gotten a lot of joy working with Curtis Modkins,” Caldwell said at the NFL Annual Meetings last month. “Let me tell you something, that guy is a good football coach.

“I mean, I knew him and certainly knew of his reputation, but to have an opportunity to sit in a room, talk about the running game, just kind of his background having been with Chan Gailey for all those years, has really been great.”

The Lions and Caldwell are expecting big things from their run game once again in 2014.

Modkins will have Bush and Bell at his disposal again this year, and the team is quite high on second-year player Theo Riddick.

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew has also made it known that he’d like to see something out of former second-round pick Mikel Leshoure, whose roll dramatically declined in 2013 after he rushed for nine touchdowns in 2012.

The Lions want to have an innovative offense under new coordinator Joe Lombardi and Modkins will have a big role in establishing how the run game fits into the mix.