2015 Detroit Lions Roster Analysis: Running Backs

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Dec 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Lions running back Joique Bell (35) leaps past Chicago Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller (23) during the second half at Soldier Field. Detroit won 20-14. Mandatory


: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions struggled to run the ball last season finishing 28th overall in the NFL. After improving the offensive line and selecting Ameer Abdullah in the second round the Lions new-look run game could see significant strides in 2015.

The Detroit Lions have had a revolving door at running back in recent years. Jahvid Best, Mikel Leshoure, Kevin Smith, and Reggie Bush all failed to get the job done for one reason or another, but with a revamped offensive line and an infusion of youth at running back, the Lions may finally turn the corner in 2015 and prove to be a formidable team on the ground.

The key to a solid run game starts up front, but a running back that can create yards after contact, find the open lanes, and burn a defense on the edge are all crucial elements to breaking a defense down. The Lions’ backfield has these elements just not necessarily in one player–though Ameer Abdullah looks capable of doing it all based on his college film. That means that Detroit will likely deploy a running back by committee approach, which shouldn’t be anything new philosophically given offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi’s background in New Orleans.

Jim Caldwell echoed this sentiment, via Detroit Freep:

"“Typically now, in this day and age, you generally don’t have just one guy at that position because it requires teamwork.” “It requires more than one or two, so there’s a role for all of those guys. “The thing about it, we don’t have two guys the same, for the most part. They all have a little different sort of strength and we can utilize that. You know, Joique is a power back who also can get on the edge and he can catch the ball out of the backfield. Theo is probably a little bit more of an edge guy. I’m not saying he can’t run inside, but he’s along the edge a little bit more. So, you know, those are different players. I think when you get a chance to see Ameer, you’ll kind of see what his style is as well. He’s pretty versatile.”"

With Bell nursing an injury from last season Abdullah may be able to steal the starting role, though both running backs, along with Theo Riddick, figure to get plenty of opportunities during the season.

It will be interesting to see how Caldwell and his staff delegates carries between these three backs and even some of the newer faces in 2015, but all of that will be anaylzed in the following slides

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