Running the ball last year was a nightmare for the Lions. Detroit ranked 29th in the league in rushing. Mikel Leshoure missed the entire season with a torn Achilles. Jahvid Best missed 10 games because of two concussions he sustained during the year. The leading rushers for the Lions were Kevin Smith and Maurice Morris. I know that both Best and Leshoure are returning next year, but the Lions backfield situation still looks grim. The Lions may end up spending yet another early round draft pick on a running back this year.
Lions president, Tom Lewand, gave an update on the condition of the two in a conference call to season ticket holders. Here is what he had to say:
I think it’s clear that we need to be better offensively in the running game, and we’re a different team when we have weapons at running back.
We were a different team before Jahvid Best got hurt than we were after he got hurt. We became more one-dimensional after Jahvid went down, and I think the same can be said for when Mikel Leshoure went down in training camp.
And what I would say is both of those guys are healing well, both of those guys are tracking on pace to be ready to go for the off-season program. You always have a little bit of risk any time a guy is coming off of injury, but we feel very, very good about where both of those guys are in their rehabilitation progress.
Hopefully he is telling the truth and not trying to make it sound better than it really is. This is good to hear, but I still don’t know if it is enough to make me not feel hopeless when thinking of the backfield. If the Lions could have a halfway decent running the game, that would do wonders to the Lions offense. It would definitely open up the passing game more which makes Matthew Stafford even more lethal. However, I don’t know if it will ever happen. Jahvid Best is consistently injured from injuries like concussions to turf toe. We still haven’t seen how well Mikel Leshoure can do in the NFL. There are other needs the front office must answer and instead of addressing those, we may end up having to use a draft pick on another running back.