Lions looking to add a fullback to the offense

Posted Feb 27, 2014

The Lions haven't had a traditional fullback since Jerome Felton left after the 2010 season, but both Martin Mayhew and Jim Caldwell said they'd like to have that role filled for 2014

Reggie BushReggie Bush (Photo: G. Smith/Detroit Lions)

The Detroit Lions aren't actively searching for running back help in 2014.

And why should they?

  • The team's 1,792 rushing yards in 2013 was their highest total since 1998.
  • Reggie Bush became the first 1,000-yard back for the Lions since Kevin Jones in 2004.
  • Bush and Joique Bell became the first running back tandem in NFL history to each record at least 500 rushing yards and 500 receiving.

Add Theo Riddick, Montell Owens and Mikel Leshoure to the equation and the Lions have great depth, too.

What they don't have, however, and haven't had since Jerome Felton left following the 2010 season, is a fullback.

Don't be surprised if the fullback makes it back into the Lions offense moving forward, though.

"I've kind of always liked to have a fullback around," Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said down at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

"The problem has been if the guy is just going to be an I-back, and that's all he's going to do -- play 10 snaps -- then how do you keep him active? So you've got to have a fullback who can do multiple things."

The fullback position wasn't as highly valued in former offensive coordinator Scott Linehan's offense and was eventually phased out all together in favor of the H-back.

The Lions had the idea of Owens playing a little bit of fullback last year, but the veteran played in just one game because of a knee injury.

"Montell is kind of a tweener between a fullback and a halfback," Mayhew said. "He's only 220, 225 pounds. But you want that physical fullback who is also a beast on special teams, but he has to bring something else to the table too. I've always liked to have a fullback, though, and we're looking to find a guy that can fit into one of those roles."

Lions head coach Jim Caldwell featured a fullback in his offenses in Indianapolis and is also open to the idea of finding a bruising blocker to lead the path for Bush, Bell and others.

"You're probably going to see a little bit of what we did in Indy a little bit, what (offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi) did, obviously, with the Saints," Caldwell said. "The fact of the matter is it's going to be the Detroit offense. So it kind of depends on how we utilize certain people.

"Could we have a move guy in the backfield that works and plays the fullback position? Certainly. Could we end up with a fullback somewhere down the line? Who knows? It just depends on what's available for us, so we're looking at all options, in that regard."