Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Who would have thought? My first impressions of Mikel Leshoure were that he might have put on some unnecessary weight, and whether that would affect his on field play. Those concerns made me feel silly after Leshoure got quality reps two days in a row and made plays almost every time he touched the ball.
Though still behind Reggie Bush, Joique Bell, and Theo Riddick, Leshoure may have leap-frogged Montell Owens as a possible keeper for power running situations. The new scheme seems to fit Leshoure very well. There were three things Leshoure needed to improve to have any real shot at the roster: Hands in the passing game, pass protection, and ST value. He showed that his ‘lobster hands’ days were behind him, catching every pass thrown his way in practice. Later, he pass protected against a DE and a LB (Levy) very well. Can he play on ST? If so, he’s the number four RB for sure, with touches in the regular season forthcoming.
Owens didn’t look poor, but seems to be a victim of players outperforming him in other areas. Theo Riddick is matching his hype as the swing back, Mikel Leshoure looks better as a rusher and receiver at this point, and Theo Riddick didn’t give up on making Special Teams his home. Owens is also the third FB in the rotation, soundly behind both Jed Collins and Chad Abram. This leaves him as a ST only player, on the outside of a game day 46 looking in.
Owens flashed as a blocker in camp last season and was beginning to show some value as a rusher before an injury took him out of the lineup. If he can’t regain his form in any other area, his value on the roster could be thin to nil.