RB Joique Bell still looking for his first NFL carry

Posted Sep 2, 2012

Joique Bell has only been in the NFL three seasons, but is already playing on his fifth NFL team in the Lions. Since going undrafted in 2010 out of Wayne State, Bell has played for Bills, Eagles (two separate times), Colts, Saints and now Lions.

In each of his first three preseasons in the league, Bell led the team he was on in rushing. 

  • • In 2010 he paced the Bills with 152 yards on 27 carries.
  • • Last year he was the Saints’ top rusher with 182 yards on 31 carries.
  • • This preseason, he led the Lions with 158 yards on 38 carries.

Despite his successes in the preseason, Bell is still looking for his first regular season carry.

As a rookie in 2010, he was released in final cuts by the Bills and spent the rest of the year shuffling between the practice squad and the 53-man roster with the Bills, Eagles and Colts and then Eagles again, never recording a carry.

Last year, Bell was cut by the Saints two weeks into the regular season, was signed to their practice squad the next day and eventually signed with the Lions late in the year. Still no carries.

A combination of circumstance and good play this preseason earned Bell a spot on the Lions initial 53-man roster. Could it finally get him that elusive first NFL carry? The Lions will be without their top two running backs when the regular season begins next week against the Rams with Jahvid Best starting the season on PUP and Mikel Leshoure suspended the first two games.

“That helps him from a numbers standpoint for sure,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said of Bell earlier this week before final cuts.

“But the one thing that Joique does a really good job of is picking up yards. He’s a good running back. He’s always been productive in those times. He’s been improved in the pass game for us; made a couple nice plays in the pass game. He’s even picked up some special teams and some pass protection stuff and that’s been one of the things he needed to improve on. He’s had a good camp and he’s done a good job on all those things.”

Bell’s stint with the Lions could be linked to Leshoure’s two-week suspension. The Lions will have to make room for Leshoure on the roster when his suspension is over and it's unlikely they'd keep five running backs with Kevin Smith, Stefan Logan and Keiland Williams ahead of Bell on the depth chart. 

If that’s ultimately the case, it’s still two chances for Bell to carry the football and show what he can do. He will have to make the 46-man active roster on game day for that to happen, but the fact that he contributes on special teams helps his case.

Bell grew up a Lions fan, played college within the city limits and even held a part time security job with the Lions. He probably couldn’t think of a more perfect scenario than getting his first official NFL carry as a Lion.