Position Preview: Running Backs

Posted Jul 13, 2013

With training camp rapidly approaching, Tim Twentyman takes a look at where the roster stands position-by-position

With training camp less than three weeks away, let's delve a little deeper in the to the roster and see where the Lions stand heading into camp.

We start with running back.


Shaun Chapas FB 6-2 244 25 1 Georgia
Joique Bell RB 5-11 220 26 3 Wayne State
Jahvid Best RB 5-10 199 24 4 California
Reggie Bush RB 6-0 203 28 8 Southern California
Mikel Leshoure RB 6-0 233 23 3 Illinois
Steven Miller RB 5-7 172 22 R Appalachian State
Montell Owens RB 5-10 225 29 8 Maine
Theo Riddick RB 5-9 200 22 R Notre Dame


Shaun Chapas 0 0 0.0 0 0 1 6 6.0 0 0
Joique Bell 82 414 5.0 67 3 52 485 9.3 50 3
Jahvid Best – PUP –
Reggie Bush (w/ Mia) 227 986 4.3 65 6 35 292 8.3 25 2
Mikel Leshoure 215 798 3.7 16 9 34 214 6.3 15 0
Steven Miller (college) 239 1,438 5.7 75 11 34 377 11.1 48 4
Montell Owens (w/ Jac) 42 209 5.0 32 1 8 113 14.1 53 0
Theo Riddick (college) 190 917 4.8 55 5 36 370 10.3 24 2


37: Rushing plays in 2012 of 10-plus yards. The league average was 49 and the average of the 12-playoff teams was 57
46.0: Percentage of rushes gaining four-plus yards last year, which ranked seventh in the NFL
124: Of the teams 391 rushes that went to the left side of the offensive line. Only four teams had fewer. Will the addition of Riley Reiff at left tackle increase that total?


The good: The Lions were second in the NFL last season with only 36 rushes for negative yards. Only Jacksonville had fewer (31).
The bad: The Lions weren't running backward, but they weren't running long distances forward, either. The club was tied for last in the NFL with four rushes of 20-plus yards.
The fix: Two words: Reggie Bush. The Lions made Bush a priority in free agency to put the spark and the big-play capability back in the run game. Bush had six runs of 20-plus yards last season and brings that element back into the Lions offense in 2013.


"Well, I think Reggie's definitely going to add a dynamic to our offense. First of all, he gives us a running back that has produced in this league and really, in the last two years, done a really good job of just carrying the ball. He's done it. You saw it even prior to his last stop he was doing a lot of the things you'll see him do in our offense and be a dual threat guy. He gives us a dynamic that a lot like what we got with Jahvid (Best), it's a little different, everybody's different, but he definitely gives us a guy that can be an effective rusher and effective receiver."

Reggie BushRB Reggie Bush

--Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan


Bush is expected to be the main guy, but Leshoure and Bell will certainly have a role, too. The Lions now have a rusher for every situation, which is what they envisioned when they drafted Leshoure to pair with Best in 2011.

Leshoure is now two years removed from an Achilles tendon tear and told that he think some of the explosion is returning to his game.

In Bell, the Lions have a versatile power back with good quickness and soft hands.

It'll be interesting to see who emerges between Steven Miller and Theo Riddick for a roster spot and playing time. Their ability on special teams will factor into that battle.
The Lions need to have a threat of a run game in 2013. Last year, they ran more plays (855 of a possible 1,160) against defenses with six or fewer defenders in the box than any other team. If Bush, Leshoure or Bell can break a few runs early in the season, the defenders move up and we all know what that means with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.