Mikel Leshoure expected to make a big jump in 2013

Posted Feb 21, 2013

Jim Schwartz says the Detroit Lions expect running back Mikel Leshoure to show significant improvement after a 2012 season that included many highs and lows

Mikel LeshoureINDIANAPOLIS - Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said today at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis that his biggest wish for his run game in 2013 is the return of the explosive plays.

It's those run plays of 20-plus yards that were severely lacking from the Lions offense last season. In fact, they had only three of them, marking the fewest in the league.

Starting running back Mikel Leshoure, whom the team selected in the second round of the 2011 draft to carry a lot of the load for them, did not have any. Joique Bell, who went undrafted in 2009 and split time with Leshoure last season, had all three.

Leshoure missed his entire rookie season in 2011 after tearing his Achilles tendon early in training camp, and Schwartz alluded to the fact that Leshoure might not have been completely recovered from that last season.

"He didn't have any explosive runs last year," Schwartz said. "He battled through a rookie year, that's probably the best way to evaluate him.

"He flashed enough highs that gives us optimism that he can (be explosive), but he also had enough inconsistency to say that he's not there yet."

Leshoure led the Lions in rushing with 798 yards and nine touchdowns, but his longest run of the season was just 16 yards on 215 attempts and he averaged a modest 3.7 yards per carry.

"We still have high hopes for him and expect him to make a big jump," Schwartz said of Leshoure heading into the 2013 offseason.

"It's a common thing of players jumping from year one to two and he's a little bit in that boat. It's not necessarily year one to two for him, but playing wise it is."