The Detroit Lions don’t like to talk about the depth chart. Jim Schwartz doesn’t make the depth chart a point of discussion and the team’s website makes it very clearly that what is posted on the depth chart page is unofficial.
However unofficial it may be, a quick glance at the depth chart shows that it makes sense. So while it might not tell us everything, it tells us something.
A point of interest is that Mikel Leshoure, not Joique Bell is listed as the team’s number two running back behind Reggie Bush. That comes as a surprise considering Bell is more versatile and was much better in preseason play.
Reggie Bush is the the Lions number one back, that much is clear. What the depth chart suggests, at least right now, is that Leshoure, not Bell, will be used to give defenses a different look. So called “Thunder and Lightning” back tandems are commonplace and the unofficial depth chart sets Leshoure up to be the thunder to Bush’s lightning.
But what happens if Bush has to miss time due to injury? Will we all of a sudden see a lot more of Leshoure? I doubt it and this is where the unofficial nature of the depth chart comes in to play.
The Lions offense wants to be more “lightning” than “thunder”, so if Bush can’t play, I expect we would see Bell leapfrog Leshoure as Bush’s replacement.
Bell isn’t Bush but he has proven to be adept as a multi-faceted back allowing the Lions to maintain much more offensive continuity than if they turned to Leshoure as their primary back due to injury.
Even with Bush in the lineup, expect to see Bell get at least half a dozen touches per game. He’s earned that and being listed as the third back on an unofficial depth chart won’t stand in his way.