Lions formulating a contingency plan at running back

Posted by ttwentyman on January 14, 2012 – 5:09 pm

The Lions expect to have running backs Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure back on the football field when they begin offseason workouts in the spring.

Best missed most of the season because of concussions and Leshoure was lost in training camp to an Achilles tendon tear.

Both players are on schedule with their rehab, but Lions general manager Martin Mayhew says the team is formulating a contingency plan in case things don’t go according to plan.

“Running back is kind of a tricky position for us right now, because we could have an embarrassment of riches there; if Jahvid is back at 100-percent and Mikel is back at 100-percent and we’re hitting on all cylinders, we got a pretty solid group,” Mayhew said.

“On the other hand, neither one of those guys is playing football right now, or able to play football right now, as far as I know, so it could be a situation where we need to address it.”

Best, a first-round pick in 2010, has had health issues in each of his first two seasons (turf-toe injuries as a rookie).

“I think, at some point, Jahvid and a doctor or a group of doctors will say he can come back,” Mayhew said. “And at that point, we’ll be glad to have him.

“He’s still being evaluated by people but we’re very optimistic with the preliminary reports.”

Leshoure, a second-round pick in 2011, is coming off a major injury.

Mayhew expects Best and Leshoure to join the team for offseason workouts, but he’ll also have a plan in place to sign or draft another running back if there’s a hiccup along the road to recovery.

“We’ve got time to make those decisions,” he said.

Backup running backs Kevin Smith and Maurice Morris will be free agents in March when the league season begins. Keiland Williams and Joique Bell are under contract.

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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 39 Comments »

39 Responses to “Lions formulating a contingency plan at running back”

  1. By ashevillain on Jan 14, 2012 | Reply

    Contingency plan or not, please draft a running back! The last 3 RB’s mentioned in this article are no better than a 6th or 7th round RB would be.

  2. By jacob on Jan 14, 2012 | Reply

    We need a running backs that can stay in for the full sesson. I know people can get hurt but its just a point.

  3. By Oldcat on Jan 14, 2012 | Reply

    Mayhew and Schwartz must be concerned whether Best can make it through an entire season without ending up on IR or at least missing several games. And Leshoure… Well, he’s a mystery. Achilles tears take time to recover from, and sometimes the player is never the same. Could Bell develop into something special? Keiland Williams doesn’t look too promising. And maybe Kevin Smith is a guy you just have to keep around. Perhaps he can contribute on special teams as well. At any rate, I don’t see Mayhew having any real concrete answers at RB anytime soon.

  4. By Dustin on Jan 14, 2012 | Reply

    r u kidding me?!?!?!?! Kevin Smith is one hell of a back right up there with Leshoure and Best!!!!!!! Now the other backs i agree r 6th or 7th round backs, but give Kevin Smith the respect he deserves!!!!!!!!!!!! Regardless we do need to draft a back or pick up one in free agency!!!!

  5. By Woody Douglas on Jan 14, 2012 | Reply

    I would replace keiland williams,maurice morris, joique bell. Get a real fullback that has good hands too. and another fast but 235lbs. or up. For hard yardage. Need some road graders up front. PLEASE GET BETTER DBS. (BIGGER AND FASTER)

  6. By Ghost of Bobby Layne on Jan 14, 2012 | Reply

    I’m 250 pounds, 5 10, 67 years old. Is my age against me or my size. Are there any good backs that are free agents? Otherwise maybe draft one that can be developed. But I think the DBs are a priority. Defense wins championships and offense sells tickets.

  7. By john on Jan 14, 2012 | Reply

    The defense was a joke,can’t believe every play looked the same they play to stop the pas and can’t and gave up too many runs and they bring that coach abck

  8. By Shaun on Jan 14, 2012 | Reply

    I think they made a mistake drafting the undersized, but extremely explosive jahvid best. He was injury proned in college and continues to stay that way. keep him around and play him when he can play, i don’t think the lions can afford to waste another early round pick on a running back. Now adays running backs are system oriented and they can easily developed. Jahvid best is a perfect fit for their offense if he can stay healthy. Running back, in my opinion is not even in their top 3 concerns(DB,OL,LB).

  9. By LaRoice on Jan 14, 2012 | Reply

    I am glad that Schwartz (sp.) and Mahew (sp.) are the ones making these decisions. I hope Det. can keep Smith, I believe in this guy. Would love to see Smith, LeShure and Best all healthy and playing. Other defenses would catch some straight up beat downs by Det. offense.

  10. By VKP on Jan 14, 2012 | Reply

    I have a question…when Detroit played Denver, why wasn’t Tebow playing? I thought it was because he was injured…others are saying no, that it was just a different quarterback. I thought for sure that’s what I heard…he was injured.
    Anyone know???

  11. By Stafford19 on Jan 15, 2012 | Reply

    use the draft toward another linebacker or defensive tackle so we increase the pressure. Our secondary is not the problem we just give too much time for the quarterbacks. Plus the run will be stopped with more attack.

  12. By MMLIONKING on Jan 15, 2012 | Reply

    Kevin Smith should be offered a contract. He has the biggest heart on the planet and can flat out play football! Without Kevin Smith’s contributions this year, we might not make the playoffs! As a Lion season ticket holder, I want to see him back on the team. He can run the ball well, is an excellent receiver and is valuable in pass protection. He has the heart of a Lion and should forever be a Detroit Lion!!!

  13. By Hugo on Jan 15, 2012 | Reply

    Why not keep Kevin Smith? he is better than the two reserves that will be on the team

  14. By Roger on Jan 15, 2012 | Reply

    Mayhew,you can draft running backs until the cows come home but if you don’t draft or sign free agents that can open holes for tor them to run through your not going to improve the running game !

  15. By gibbyfan23 on Jan 15, 2012 | Reply

    Get ride of all but,LaShoure, Smith & J. Bell,Draft LaMichael James,go get a couple of moose,fullbacks, and then run them by commity, the best 1’s stay, best was an O.K. back but,to many concussions even in college, being fast doesn’t always equate into good, being smart always equates into something good, we need a back that D’S are going to pay attention too, Opens up, Matt to throw the ball around,P.S., i think he might be pretty good at that, another tall WR to compliment Megatron, and we’re off to the races, concentrate on the DB’S, tall,hard hitting DB’S, keep the core of players we got now, rotate,rotate,rotate, resign,avril,tullock, keep Backus, pick up another L-backer, to rotate, let’s go play ball.

  16. By lionsloyal on Jan 15, 2012 | Reply

    this is starting to remind me of dan marino great arm great qb but no run game to balance it out

  17. By ajb in GR on Jan 15, 2012 | Reply

    they have to upgrade the secondary they cant cover anyone and Spivey is slow to react to the ball in the air we saw New Orleans go for 4th down plays and convert them the defense did not scare them

  18. By Dick on Jan 15, 2012 | Reply

    My biggest dissapointment this season is with the highly touted defensive line. San Francisco yesterday put pressure on drew and showed how weak our line played against N.O. We also need a new running back. What we have now is not the answer. Best is injury prone and ditto for smith. Also must improve on defensive backs. Guess that kind of shows why we are not anywhere near a Super Bowl contender.

  19. By Black swamp on Jan 15, 2012 | Reply

    The issue is how do we fix the Defensive back field? RB are not rare to find.
    How do we upgrade the line backer core

  20. By Trespayne on Jan 15, 2012 | Reply

    We should try to trade for Maurice Jones Drew. A proven solid RB that can take hits and perform consistently every game. And we definitely need DB’s. If our DB’s cover better, it gives our solid D-line more time to disrupt the QB and take over the game. And then of course the O-line problem…

  21. By ashevillain on Jan 15, 2012 | Reply

    Glad to see others are finally starting to also believe Detroit NEEDS a FULLBACK. At least get Jerome Felton back…Carolina doesn’t need him.

    There are plenty of good RB’s and FB’s in free agency this year.

    There are tons of different scenarios…some more likely than others. Here’s an unlikely one that would be freakin’ awesome:

    1. drop/trade all the current RB’s except Leshoure and Smith.
    2. Sign Matt Forte and LeRon McLain
    3. Profit.

  22. By Josh on Jan 15, 2012 | Reply

    My Detroit Lions Off season to do wish list-
    Retain DE Cliff Avril and MLB Stephen Tulloch.
    Acquire CB Cortland Finnegan, S Michael Griffin and either RB Matt Forte or RB Ray Rice in free agency or trade up to draft RB Lamar Miller if Forte or Rice were not signed as free agents. As far as the RB position goes the lions still might not have that premiere back but could still end up landing Miller in the draft. He has as much potential as Best without the injury/concussion issues. He is ideal for the lions zone blocking scheme and his upright running style reminds me of Dickerson a lot.

  23. By serge on Jan 15, 2012 | Reply


  24. By serge on Jan 15, 2012 | Reply

    Sing Forte and we win.

  25. By serge on Jan 15, 2012 | Reply

    Sing Forte and we have the best offence or very near.

  26. By LionsFan on Jan 15, 2012 | Reply

    see this is were i have a problem with fans Best, Leshore, and Smith have showed so much potential and could really turn into quite the trio but the second they have problems you want them gone. Sounds like what we did with smith and then he came back this year and really helped us, as a true die hard lions fan i believe all these guys have earned atleast one more year to prove there value.

  27. By CarpenterDon on Jan 15, 2012 | Reply

    I think Bell may surprise a few people. I think we should keep Smith for depth. Smith had a higher YPC than Best and 7 total TD’s. Best only had 3 total TD’s. I would love to get Tolbert from San Diego in FA. He is 5’9″ and 243lb’s. He also has grat hands! GO LIONS!

  28. By Derek on Jan 15, 2012 | Reply

    I feel that a three-headed monster of Best/Leshoure/Smith would be enough to establish a formidable rushing attack.

    Jahvid Best (22 years old), although the most dynamic of the Lions’ running backs, has unfortunately been derailed by injuries in his first two seasons. If we were to keep him involved in the gameplan but perhaps not rely on him as much as we had to in the early part of the 2011 season, it would aid in keeping him healthy and fresh throughout the entirety of the 2012 campaign.

    Mikel Leshoure (21 years old) has the potential to be a solid power back, something the Lions have lacked for a long time. However, it is difficult to comment on him without seeing him play. Hopefully he develops into a reliable short-yardage back.

    Kevin Smith (25 years old) really showed me something this year before he injured his leg in the Thanksgiving game (a key reason I feel we struggled down the stretch). He has always been good in pass protection and as a receiving option out of the backfield, but he appeared to have lost some weight giving him an additional “burst” before his injury. If he is able to maintain that, I would love to see him as our 3rd-down back.

    Overall, if all of our young RBs are able to return healthy next season, I feel that there are better areas to address in the draft and free agency.

  29. By Bob Glatter on Jan 16, 2012 | Reply

    Current Lion running backs are very good when healthy. Best is a rocket passed the line of scrimmage, Smith can run between the tackles very well, and if Leshoure is anything like he was at Illinois, watch out! A clone of Giant’s RB Brandon Jacobs. He hits like a truck.
    What the Lions need is run blocking guards, like Nicks and Evans of the Saints. Pass protection is quite good. The Saints didn’t lay a hand on Stafford in the playoff game and they blitz almost every down. Maybe McClendon on the practice squad can move up. He’s big as a house, but needs to learn pass blocking technique. All in all, the Lions have a rosy future with a Super Bowl appearance in it.

  30. By WindsorLionsFan on Jan 16, 2012 | Reply

    I’ll suggest a few things most probably have’nt thought of.
    1) Dispite injury concerns K.Smith is still the most complete RB i.g. recieving skills, running style and most importantly in this offence is his pass blocking skill. The other RB’s can prob do a few of those things as good or better but I suggest watching game footage because his size vs skill set puts him above the rest in complete ability. If he isn’t overworked, his durability won’t be as much of concern.
    The area I’m currently concerned about is the depth at safety. Delmas went down and so did the confidence of the defence. Spivey has shown he’s effective at times when he has Delmas assigning duty’s. I think maybe pulling in a few proven long toothed vets (on the cheap) to play in limited backup roles would go a long way in teaching the position’s as well as pushing them to develope better awareness.

  31. By spikesallrite on Jan 16, 2012 | Reply

    it looks like best will be cleared to play,with a healthy leshour ,smith or morris,williams,the lions will go foward-have to see about best’s health as year goes on in 12-there was a lota rumbling about staffords injuries last yr-if best can play heathy next year we’ll have top flite talent-best should be used more like sproles hopefully,leshour smith morris carrying to every down back stuff-that was prolly the plan but leshour going down changed best’s role.stafford came thru this year and if best does this yr were good to far as stafford goes,lota folks said get rid of him after last yr-now what qb in the league would you trade him for straight up-NO ONE-look for mayhew to add some square pegs-tinker with o line,and hopefully get a shutdown corner and another topflite safety-we dont need much-dont go over board for the sake of going overboard-i personally trust the gm and coaching staff thats in place-these guys are winners and turned the lions into winners-let them do there thing sit back relax and enjoy-go lions

  32. By Motlee92 on Jan 16, 2012 | Reply

    We have to have a running game. When Stafford airs one out to Megatron for 80 yards, and we score a touchdown, thats all great, But we need a run game to keep the ball out of the other teams hands. We fought hard against the saints, and we were neck and neck with them, But they controled the ball. eventually our defense wore down. Our defense was on the feild way to long against the saints, It wore them down. With a decent run game our offense could control the clock more and rest the defense. Having said that we also need do work on the secondary. We do not need any more blown coverage down the field. Just a though, I did love watching this team this year……and it is pretty cool to say “wait till next year!” and really mean it. GO LIONS!!!!!

  33. By robert brenton on Jan 16, 2012 | Reply

    We should be able to trade hill for some good defencive players or rb .We don,t need him we do have stanton and i think hill would be great trading material. A lot of teams are looking for a qb even one like him.

  34. By jlaba2 on Jan 16, 2012 | Reply

    they need to sign kevin smith for another year or two. he is the best back they have with experience and still young at 24. i hope the lions realize that and keep him around for next season

  35. By dcleve126 on Jan 16, 2012 | Reply

    Look : 2 pts secondary linebackers, ok I know we need backup plan at running back but the secondary must be primary issue read about back from Jacksonville stop dreaming if we did get someone like that would mortage too much of our future, more in tune to talking to eagles about Asante samuels, or do not want to have to start a rookie in secondary need vet. that could teach a rookie bring him in slowly. Like Young as slot receiver petigrew fine tight end, although while Megatron had an allstar yr. we need to consider addind another beast at wide receiver. We have three very good qb’s I think the 3rd string qb is very valuable trade bait would be an excellent back-up and may allow us to get a trade option for our offensive line we need to start upgrading and planing the what if we had run and pass orientated lineman like 49er’s have they have an excellent blueprint to go by also. while i like what Detroit offensive cordinator has accomplish I think he needs to get more creative the second time around in the season having same packages but different plays to keep defenses guessing. Thinking outside the box, and of course practice an whole new set of plays that we can do in playoffs next year. 2012 Lions capture Superbowl Title how cool is that !!!!!!!!!!!111

  36. By john on Jan 16, 2012 | Reply

    This is a vote for Kevin Smith, who showed me that he has both heart and ability. Of course, we need more than that: let’s hope Leshoure is ready. But my big concern as a Lion fan from the days of Bobby Layne is our defense. Where was our pass rush? Do our linebackers (esp. outside) really measure up? And why don’t we have an Ed Reed-type opportunist in the secondary? Despite all the calls that went against us, one BIG thing rang loud and true in the second half of the season: anyone hungry enough (even with second-string quarterbacks) can score BIG TIME on us. Suh is wrong: our problem is not the running game but the run-stop and pass-stop game. Until we stop being in denial about our defense, we can’t expect to be much more than a wild-card team, if that.

  37. By Mike on Jan 17, 2012 | Reply

    Maybe a full back- someone that can run the ball and pass protect would be a good “running” start

  38. By Ken on Jan 17, 2012 | Reply

    LB really… LB play was solid and have some depth there with season additions. CB, SS/FS, OL, RB, K… Maybe another solid addition or possible upgrade if possible but it’s not a glairing whole or priority. 5th on the list. Pls pick up Ronnie Brown from Philly and make FA/ trade moves n get good players now to start n let our drafts develop without sacrificing wining now!!!

  39. By Detroit Lions #1 on Apr 29, 2012 | Reply

    I get the sense from Lions fans that they expect Mikel to do really well on the field and everyboy is kinda holding there breath about Jahvid but not expecting it to turn out well.

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