Aug 22, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions running back Theo Riddick (41) is tackled by New England Patriots defense during 2nd half at Ford Field. Lions won 40-9. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Theo Riddick Can Be The Difference For Detroit Lions

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There’s been plenty of talk about Theo Riddick this offseason and the role he might play in 2014, but what can we really expect from the second year running back?

If Lions backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky‘s comments are any indication of what’s to come then Riddick will have a major impact on the explosive offense.

“I’m telling you, if he doesn’t 50 catches this year, I’ll be surprised because he’s going to have opportunities and he’s very talented at it. I think he’s going to play that Sproles role, for sure.”

That quote from Orlovsky seems a bit generous, but from what he’s seen from Riddick this offseason he may be right.

“I mean this kid, he wasn’t covered a single time in OTAs and minicamp. He was not covered,” Orlovsky said. “And I think it’s even going to be easier when he gets pads on because once linebackers just try to start colliding him, and that’s what teams started to do with Sproles sometimes, you hit the home run one out of every 10 plays. And then nine out of 10 times, Sproles wins. And that’s what I think Theo’s going to do that for us.”

It stands to reason that Riddick’s looks might be predicated off of the type of defense the Lions are facing, but who would you zero in on if you were the defensive coordinator? We don’t know what type of packages the Lions will use Riddick in, but you have to think he will be in the mix with at least Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Eric Ebron/Brandon Pettigrew and possibly one of the other backs also on the field.

Pairing Riddick with other home run threats like Bush and Johnson really opens up the potential for big plays and the wide variety of packages might be enough to keep the offense from stalling like we’ve seen in the past.

Last season Reggie Bush ran the ball 223 times and tallied 54 catches. Joique Bell posted 166 attempts on the ground and 53 receptions.

If Riddick can provide anything close to 50 catches the Lions can keep Bush and Bell on a bit of a pitch count which should help ensure late season success– a focal point this offseason.

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