LIONS INSIDER

Riddick-ulous play earning one running back more snaps

Posted Oct 27, 2014

Second-year running back Theo Riddick's play warrants more opportunities, even when Reggie Bush is back from his ankle injury.

When Reggie Bush comes back healthy off an ankle injury in two weeks vs. Miami, the Lions will be faced with a problem a lot of teams would love to have. They’ll have three play-making running backs and only one football to share between them.

Second-year running back Theo Riddick has proven to be quite the weapon in the passing game filling in for Bush in Minnesota, and this past week in London, and is deserving of more time in the backfield.

In the two games he filled in for Bush, he was targeted 18 times and caught 13 of those passes for 149 yards and a touchdown. Let's also not forget he only played the first half in Minnesota after aggravating a hamstring injury that made him miss last week’s game vs. New Orleans. He also missed the Buffalo game due to a hamstring injury.

In London, vs. Atlanta, he was targeted 12 times and reeled in a career-high eight of those targets for 74 yards and a touchdown. He also made a Riddick-ulous (couldn’t resist) one-handed catch for a 20-yard completion on the final drive that helped set up Matt Prater’s 48-yard game-winning field goal as time expired.

Riddick has been exactly what the Lions needed while Bush mends that sore ankle, and his play warrants more opportunities, even when Bush is healthy. Riddick looks more like a receiver than he does a running back in the passing game, which is a trait not common in this league. He’s a terrific route runner and has the best pair of hands among all Lions running backs.

He isn’t as fast as Bush, or as powerful as Bell, but he’s the perfect combination of both. He runs a variety of routes, at any depth, and he’s extremely shifty in the open field.

It will be interesting to see if his emergence over the last few weeks prompts the Lions to use him in a few more two-back sets alongside either Bell or Bush. Could he even chip into some of Bush’s reps?

We heard all offseason and into training camp how Riddick was impressing teammates and coaches with his ability.

Over the last game and a half he’s played in, we’ve seen it for ourselves and now know what all the buzz was about.