Grading the 2014 Detroit Lions: Taking A Closer Look At the Offense

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Jan 4, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Detroit Lions running back Joique Bell (35) carries the ball past Dallas Cowboys defensive end George Selvie (99) and Josh Brent (95) during the first quarter in the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Running Back

Joique Bell: B+. The toughest, most consistent runner on the team, Bell had a nice season out of the backfield as both a runner and receiver and finally saw the spotlight shine on him. On the ground, he rushed for 860 yards and seven touchdowns as the lead dog, and caught 34 passes for one score and 322 yards through the air. It’s hard not to like where the future could be going for the bruising back. Late in the season, he showed why he’s precisely the type of hammering runner the Lions need in the rough and tumble NFC North. Additionally, he was an excellent representative for Detroit.

Theo Riddick: B.  Most of the reason Riddick doesn’t have a higher grade is probably because he was involved in a positional logjam with Reggie Bush when healthy. When Bush was out, however, Riddick was an excellent complement to Bell, and scored some key touchdowns. In the passing game, he showed speed and elusiveness. In the running game, he was a bit slow to find and hit holes, but when he got to the second level, he was explosive. Look for more of the same in a bigger role in the future.

Reggie Bush: C-. When Bush is completely healthy, there is no doubt he is still a major game changer. The problem is, Bush was never completely healthy much of the season until the bitter end. Then and only then did he show his true impact, rushing for three touchdowns through the final two regular season and wild card game. That alone will be enough for most to feel good about Bush moving forward, but the Lions could have a tough choice to make given his $5.2 million dollar cap hit, checkered health past, sparse production and emergence of Riddick in the same role.