Joique Bell continues to make plays when given the opportunity

Posted Aug 24, 2013

Is Joique Bell establishing himself as the Lions' No. 2 running back behind Reggie Bush?

Joique Bell is a playmaker.

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

That's probably the best way to describe the third-year running back out of Wayne State, who bounced around the league his first few seasons before finding a home in Detroit last season.

The Lions are looking for someone to emerge as the No. 2 running back behind Reggie Bush. Bell and former second-round pick Mikel Leshoure are the most likely candidates.

Bell's career the last two years has been about making the most of opportunities. Thursday's, 40-9, victory over the Patriots was no different.

He led the team in rushing with 52 yards on five carries (10.4 average) and caught two passes for 49 yards, including a terrific 38 yard catch and run where it seemed like he eluded half the Patriots defense in the open field.

"He's strong and he's got very good balance," Schwartz said of Bell. "He's very hard to bring down. He's not the fastest guy in the world but he's certainly not slow.

"He's done a nice job. Both in the pass game and the run game and I thought we saw that from him last year, too. It's just a continuation of what we saw last year."

Last season, Bell rushed for 414 yards (5.0 average), but made a big impact in the passing game as a receiver. His 52 catches were fifth most among all running backs in the NFL a season ago.

Bell has picked up this year right where he left off.

Through three preseason games, Bell is averaging 6.5 yards per rush and has seven catches for 91 more yards. He's instinctive, hard to bring down, doesn't often lose yards and makes plays when given a chance.

That's what coaches are looking for in a No. 2 running back.