Jim Schwartz continues to be impressed by RB Joique Bell

Posted Jun 20, 2013

After significant growth in his role last season, Bell has impressed coaches with his work ethic this offseason

Joique Bell burst onto the scene last season for the Detroit Lions, becoming a consistent weapon out of their backfield.

Joique BellRB Joique Bell (Photo: G.Smith/Detroit Lions)

Bell finished second on the team (Mikel Leshoure) with 414 yards rushing (5.0 average). He also caught 52 passes for 485 yards, ranking fifth in the league for number of catches by any running back in the NFL.

Bell's role grew a lot last season and it seems he's continued the upward trend throughout the offseason.

"Joique's had an outstanding offseason," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said after last week's last mini-camp practice. "Him and (Matthew) Stafford probably spent most of the time here at the facility (during the offseason).

"Both guys lived here and both of them haunted the hallways in January, February and March before our offseason program started.

"I come in on a Saturday getting ready for the Draft or something and try to go get on the treadmill for a little bit and Joique would be in there on a bike or on a treadmill doing something. He's had a really good offseason."

Bell bounced around from roster to roster before getting his chance with the Lions in 2012. He's carved out a nice niche for himself and feels comfortable with his role in the offense.

"It took him a while to sort of earn his way onto a roster in the NFL," Schwartz said. "He was on the practice squad for a few years, but when he got the opportunity he made the most of it last year and he's not letting go.

"He's really done well and he's increased his special teams knowledge and technique and things like that."

Bell told back in May that he'd like to have an increased special teams role this season. Bell returned kickoffs for the Lions Week 17 last season.

Bell's role as a receiver out of the backfield is likely to take a dip with the signing of Reggie Bush, but Bell will still have opportunities to make plays. He could ultimately push Leshoure for carries.

"It looks like he can contribute in a lot of ways," Schwartz said of Bell. "We have plenty of carries in our offense for a lot of different running backs. We've got plenty of touches in our offense for a lot of different skill players.

"We're not going to run out of people to run the ball or run out of people to throw the ball too. All of them have little different strengths, little bit different things that they can contribute. Once we get there, we'll try to put them in the best positions."

The good thing about Bell's game is that he has a lot of strengths and can wear many hats for the Lions.