I preface this blog by first saying I have no knowledge of – and have not been told by anyone within the Lions organization – that general manager Martin Mayhew has been putting feelers out to teams regarding a possible trade for a running back.
Jason La Canfora of CSBSports.com, however, tweeted Tuesday afternoon that Mayhew is actively trying to acquire another running back.
That being said, Mayhew should be making a few phone calls around the league to at least explore the possibility of getting additional help at the position, given the current state of the his running back corps.
- The Lions placed running back Jahvid Best on the physically unable to perform list on Monday, which will prevent him from playing in least the first six weeks of the regular season.
- Second-year running back Mikel Leshoure is facing a two-week suspension to start the regular season for two separate marijuana possession charges this offseason.
- Running backs Kevin Smith and Stefan Logan are currently nursing ankle injuries.
If I were Mayhew, I’d certainly be making a few calls.
Don’t forget Mayhew tried to address the depth at running back last season when he faced a similar injury and depth problem last year after Best suffered his second concussion of the season and went on injured reserve soon after. Mayhew tried to trade for Ronnie Brown but that trade fell through, remember, when it was discovered Jerome Harrison, who the Lions were sending to Philadelphia in exchange for Brown, had a brain tumor.
There are a number of players who’ve been rumored to potentially be on the market over the last month, a list that includes Knowshon Moreno, Brandon Jackson, Leon Washington, Chris Ivory and Maurice Jones-Drew. The Lions have not commented publicly on any desire to trade or any player under contract with another team.
Now, before Lions fans get all excited about the last names on the above list, know that’s it’s highly unlikely the Jaguars would trade the NFL’s leading rusher from last year, and – if they did – he’d be too expensive to acquire for my liking.
I still believe the Lions have their answer at running back in Leshoure, but they won’t have him the first two weeks of the season and you can never have too much depth at any one position.
Mayhew could also choose to wait until final cuts on Friday to add a player to the roster.
Moral of the story is that if, in fact, Mayhew is making a few calls to see what’s out there, it is him simply being a diligent general manager and doing his job given the team’s current state at running back.
Tags: Jahvid Best, Kevin Smith, Martin Mayhew, Mikel Leshoure, Stefan Logan
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 31 Comments »
Lions fans can rest easy, quarterback Matthew Stafford was back on the practice field Monday and seemingly feeling no effects of a left-hand injury that forced him to leave Saturday’s preseason game in Oakland in the second quarter.
Stafford participated in the portion of practice open to the media Monday afternoon and did not have his non-throwing hand wrapped or taped.
“I think what would have happened in a regular season game is right after it happened I would have run up for x-rays and if they said they were negative I would have come back in the game,” Stafford said after the game Saturday. “It feels okay right now; it feels fine really. Just scary looking down to your hand swelling up by the second.”
Stafford wasn’t the only Lions starter to leave Saturday’s game due to injury. Running back Kevin Smith (ankle) and cornerbacks Chris Houston (ankle) and Bill Bentley (shoulder) also left. All three of those players did not practice Monday.
Also missing practice were: receiver Calvin Johnson, linebacker Stephen Tulloch, linebacker Travis Lewis, defensive tackle Andre Fluellen, tight end Brandon Pettigrew and safety John Wendling.
Running back and kick returner Stefan Logan participated in the open portion of practice for the first time since injuring his ankle the second week of the preseason in a victory over the Ravens.
Tags: Bill Bentley, Chris Houston, Kevin Smith, Matthew Stafford, Stefan Logan
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 2 Comments »
In a move to bolster their running back position, the Lions have extended a contract offer to former Packers running back Ryan Grant, a league source confirmed.
Lions running backs Mikel Leshoure and Jahvid Best are coming off season-ending injuries last year and Grant would add an experienced veteran to a group that also includes Kevin Smith, Joique Bell and Keiland Williams.
Both Leshoure and Best are expected to be fully healthy for the Lions this year, but it’s not a bad idea to add as much depth at the position as possible.
Grant shared running back duties with James Starks last season. Starks carried 133 times for 578 yards (4.3 average) and one touchdown; Grant carried 134 times for 559 yards (4.2 average) and two touchdowns.
Grant, 29, rushed for 4,016 yards and 25 touchdowns during his 63 games with the Packers, adding 92 receptions for 726 yards and two touchdowns.
He rushed for consecutive 1,200-yard seasons with the Packers in 2008 and 2009 before missing all of the 2010 season with an ankle injury.
Grant has yet to accept the Lions’ offer.
Tags: Jahvid Best, Joique Bell, Keiland Williams, Kevin Smith, Mikel Leshoure
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 23 Comments »
The Lions have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with running back Kevin Smith, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew confirmed to reporters Tuesday at the owners meetings in Florida.
Smith played in seven games with the Lions last season after signing mid-season to help bolster a running back position decimated by injuries.
Smith was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week after a 201-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Panthers in his first game back with the team last season.
“He’s a versatile back,” Mayhew said. “He can do a lot of things. He’s really good on third down, a good pass protector and a very intelligent football player.”
Smith’s signing is good for the Lions. He adds depth to the unit behind Mikel Leshoure and Jahvid Best. Leshoure missed all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon and Best missed the last 10 games with a concussion.
“Kevin is a good back, his problem obviously has been the number of injuries he’s had and just trying to overcome those,” said Mayhew.
Smith has had knee, shoulder and ankle injuries over the last three seasons.
He was a third-round pick by the Lions out of Central Florida in 2008 and started most of his first two seasons in the NFL. The team did not offer him a restricted free agent tender before last season, which made him a free agent.
Tags: Kevin Smith
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 48 Comments »
The Lions will not give a restricted free agent tender offer to reserve linebacker Ashlee Palmer, according to league sources.
Palmer played primarily on special teams last year and finished with eight tackles.
The move makes sense for the Lions, who will be up against the salary cap next season. They can’t afford to tender a reserve linebacker at more than $1 million.
That certainly doesn’t mean the Lions can’t come to a free agent deal with Palmer for him to remain a Lion. Palmer knows the system and was very good on special teams last season.
It’s not unlike the situation the Lions went through with running back Kevin Smith when they didn’t tender him a contract offer last offseason.
The Lions will have to decide on their other restricted free agents soon — linebacker DeAndre Levy, defensive tackle Sammie Hill and offensive tackle Corey Hilliard.
I expect the Lions to extend tender offers to all three of those players.
Tags: Ashlee Palmer, Corey Hilliard, DeAndre Levy, Kevin Smith, Sammie Hill
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 1 Comment »
Lions receiver Titus Young received the 2011 Detroit Lions Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association Rookie of the Year Award.
Young had 48 receptions for 607 yards, six touchdowns and a 12.6 yards per catch average.
He came on strong the second half of the season and proved to be a very effective weapon in the passing game. Young will continue to be a bigger part of the offense moving forward and coaches are excited for his potential next season.
“He’s a dangerous match-up for other teams,” Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan told Detroitlions.com of Young. “To me, he might be the biggest match-up (advantage) we can continue to grow with the way people defend Calvin (Johnson).
“When he gets on the outside part of the field, he can get behind the defense, and if you have that opposite a player like Calvin, that’s really when you got something.”
The DSBA has been awarding a Lions rookie of the year since 2002. Previous winners include: Joey Harrington, Boss Bailey, Kevin Jones, Shaun Cody, Ernie Sims, Gerald Alexander, Kevin Smith, Louis Delmas and Ndamukong Suh.
Tags: Calvin Johnson, Kevin Smith, Louis Delmas, Ndamukong Suh, Titus Young
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 10 Comments »
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.
Tags: Jahvid Best, Joique Bell, Keiland Williams, Kevin Smith, Martin Mayhew, Maurice Morris, Mikel Leshoure
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 39 Comments »
The Lions head into their first playoff game in 12 years, Saturday against the Saints, the healthiest they’ve been in more than a month.
Friday’s injury report list’s only safety Chris Harris (back) as doubtful for Saturday night’s game in New Orleans.
Safety Louis Delmas, who hasn’t played since Thanksgiving with a right knee injury, is listed as probable. Delmas practiced all week for the first time since hurting the knee six weeks ago.
Also probable for the Lions are: defensive end Cliff Arvil (back), corner Aaron Berry (shoulder), defensive tackle Nick Fairley (foot), corner Chris Houston (knee/hand), receiver Calvin Johnson (Achilles), corner Alphonso Smith (foot), running back Kevin Smith (ankle/knee) defensive tackle Corey Williams (hip) and defensive end Willie Young (ankle).
The Lions should have all 11 starters on defense for the game.
That includes Williams, who missed last week’s game in Green Bay, and Berry, who hasn’t played since Dec. 11 against the Vikings.
It’s a good time for the Lions to be healthy.
Tags: Aaron Berry, Alphonso Smith, Calvin Johnson, Chris Harris, Chris Houston, Cliff Avril, Corey Williams, Kevin Smith, Louis Delmas, Nick Fairley
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 17 Comments »
The Lions are absolutely clobbering the Chargers at halftime.
They have a commanding 24-0 lead, their largest of the season, and are halfway to securing their first playoff berth since 1999.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has completed 21-of-26 passes for 260 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. His quarterback rating is 146.8.
He’s thrown scores to tight end Brandon Pettigrew (7 yards), running back Kevin Smith (3) and receiver Calvin Johnson (14).
The Lions defense has allowed just 93 yards in the first half.
Stafford broke Scott Mitchell’s franchise record for passing yards in a season (4,338) on a 30-yard pass to receiver Nate Burleson in the second quarter.
Tags: Brandon Pettigrew, Calvin Johnson, Kevin Smith, Matthew Stafford, Nate Burleson
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 5 Comments »
Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Monday that all of his 53 players would be “in the mix to play this week” when the Chargers come to Ford Field on Saturday.
That means none of the injuries the Lions are dealing with are long-term.
However, there were still a number of players missing from Tuesday’s first practice of the week.
Safety Louis Delmas, who had arthroscopic knee surgery on Saturday, did not practice.
Delmas didn’t travel to Oakland and hasn’t played since hurting the knee against the Packers on Thanksgiving.
Also not participating in the portion of practice open to the media were: defensive tackle Corey Williams, safety Chris Harris, corner Don Carey and long snapper Don Muhlbach.
Corner Aaron Berry practiced for the first time since separating his right shoulder against the Vikings Dec. 11 and to part in individual drills.
Berry still looks to be favoring that right shoulder some, though.
Corner Chris Houston, who started against Oakland Sunday but was replaced by Alphonso Smith, was participating in practice.
Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch got his usual day of rest to begin the workweek.
Fellow defensive end Lawrence Jackson took part in his second practice since suffering a thigh bruise against the Bears back in November.
Running back Kevin Smith (high ankle sprain) practiced and looked fine.
There will be no official injury report released by the team today.
Tags: Aaron Berry, Alphonso Smith, Chris Harris, Chris Houston, Corey Williams, Don Carey, Don Muhlbach, Jim Schwartz, Kevin Smith, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Lawrence Jackson, Louis Delmas
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 6 Comments »