It Keeps You Running

Ahh yes….I’m fondly remembering that Doobie Brothers classic.  While I’m not old enough to remember dancing to it in high school or anything, I am old enough to remember it from the movie Forrest Gump.

But, I digress.  I’m here today to discuss the Lions Running game, or lack there of.  And the hopes that it will return in 2015.  Or not!

Less than a week ago, Detroit Lions running back Joique Bell told a writer for a local news site, Mlive.com that he would rush for over 1200 yards this year, and that it would be surprised and disappointed if he doesn’t make that mark.  Now that’s some high hopes.  As the article points out, Joique rushed for 414 yards in 2012, 650 in 2013, and 860 last year.  So, he’s steadily improved, by a little more than 200 yards a season.  So, if he keeps up that clip, next year he should rush for about…ehh…1,083.  I did the math.  But if you’re curious about the math, please tweet me, I’ll tell you how I did it.

Anyway… Joique may be disappointed this year, if we go by his average improvement.  Another reason why Mr. Bell may be surprised and disappointed is because of the Lions second round draft pick, a one Mr. Ameer Abdullah.  Awesome running back out of Nebraska.  While it’s going to be a transition from the college style to the NFL, there are still high hopes that Abdullah will be the running back of the future for this team.  Hoping that he runs behind a revamped offensive line, he could get a majority of the touches.  Should that happen, again, fan favorite Bell may have to be surprised and disappointed.

The run game here in Detroit has been sparse at best the past few years.  See, the Lions were ranked 28th in the league last year in rushing.  They were ahead of only the Bucs, Chargers, Cardinals and Raiders.  While they did attempt more running plays than passing last year, they still only netted about 89 yards per game.  They also rushed for the fewest amount of yards total since 2009.  Also, the highest that they’ve been ranked in rushing came in 2013, when they were ranked 17th.  That was when their offensive line was playing really well.  Well….really well for a Lions team.  But before then, they hadn’t finished better than 23rd.  And I went back to ’06.  It was ugly.   So, there is a need to improve the run game here in Detroit.

J&R

Joique and Reggie. AKA Thunder and Lightning.

 

Now, Joique was an integral part of that 2013 season.  He and Reggie Bush were the first teammates in NFL history to have both 500 yards rushing and receiving in the same season.  But now, Reggie is off to that dumpster fire that is San Francisco, and Joique has had some injury issues to deal with last year between his ankle and his Achilles.  The good thing is that Joique has improved every year since he’s been here.  He was the leading rusher for the team last year.  The bad thing is, they only rushed for over 100 yards 4 times.  One time they rushed for exactly 100 yards.

 

Bottom line, if this team wants to be successful, they gotta run.  And this Lions team needs to really work on their run game.  I mean, really.  They addressed that need in the draft by picking up Ameer Abdullah, and tightening up their O-Line.  If Abdullah is the running back we all hope and dream he can be, then Mr. Bell may have to be surprised and disappointed.  But, if Joique does rush for those 1200 yards AND Abdullah is great….well, then.  2015 may be a pretty good season for this team.

 

Besides, just ask the Seahawks how important a run game is.