Bell was activated off the physically unable to perform list Monday, and immediately returned to repping with the first-unit offense ahead of Abdullah, Zenner, Theo Riddick and George Winn. He was listed first on the depth chart, too, though he is not expected to play in Thursday's preseason finale against Buffalo
"I did everything with the ones," Bell said. "I was limited, as far as reps, but I did everything. Everything from team blitz to regular team."
The Lions struggled to rush the football last year, but Bell was able to produce anyway after a slow start, averaging 4.2 yards per carry in the second half of the year. He was on pace for a 1,000-yard season during that stretch. He rushed 223 times for a career-best 860 yards and a team-best seven touchdowns, and eclipsed Reggie Bush as the team's primary tailback. A year later, Bell remains entrenched in that role to open this season despite some promising early returns from Abdullah and Zenner.
Bell, who had been recovering from knee and Achilles injuries, had been on the physically unable to perform list. On Saturday, he had indicated he was close to returning, adding that he and the doctors would play it by ear whether he would be activated this week.
Bell is coming off a year in which he rushed for a career-high 860 yards. He will join a backfield that includes rookies Ameer Abdullah and Zach Zenner along with Theo Riddick and George Winn. Adbullah figures to be a big part of the passing game but Bell should see a lot of the early down work.
Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Saturday that Joique Bell is "moving along really well" in his recovery after being placed on the physically unable to perform list prior to training camp. Bell had offseason surgery to help solve knee and Achilles issues and missed the entire spring recovering from those injuries.
He's also missed all of training camp but has been running off to the side almost daily in an attempt to ramp up for his eventual return.
"After speaking to the doctors back in June, he said if I was running at all by the end of July, I'm making good progress," Bell said. "I feel by the end of July I was running. I'm not going to say I'm ready to go out there and take every play and run every down right now, but you never know how I feel in two weeks."
Bell did say he does not think he needs to take hits during the preseason to prepare for the season opener, mostly because he's been playing football his entire life. He said he and the Lions are "still playing it by ear" as for when he'll be activated.
When Bell does return, the Lions expect he'll be able to handle a full workload fairly soon after that.
Bell was the #14 RB in standard formats (#13 in PPR), while racking up 257 touches in 15 games. That works out to a 17.1-touch average. While he certainly benefited from Reggie Bush's injury-plagued season, Bell dominated the touches even when Bush was active and playing. We now project Ameer Abdullah for more touches, but not by much. Bell is likely to see the goal line work and is active in the passing game as well, so his 7th round ADP seems more than reasonable.
Joique Bell has spent the majority of the past two weeks during Detroit Lions practices running off on the side. While the rest of his teammates go through individual drills, Bell lines up between orange cones and does a variety of sprints and lateral maneuvers.
He’s still on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, so there isn’t much more the running back can do until he is cleared. When that will be is still up in the air, but Bell doesn’t seem too concerned about potentially not playing much until the regular season.
“It’s just about how I feel physically,” Bell said. “And as far as my conditioning, I condition every day. So as far as that, I don’t think that’s going to be an issue as far as getting back into football shape. But right now, my main concern is just getting healthy.”
Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Bell is still following the team’s return-to-play protocol and they are gauging when Bell could return. Bell injured his knee and Achilles last season and had surgeries in the offseason.
“There are no guarantees. You just don’t know in this league,” Caldwell said. “And you anticipate he’s young and strong and he’s one of those guys that has always been a workhorse, and we fully expect him to come back and be what he was last year for us and that was a bell cow.
“He was a tough, hard-nosed guy that set a great tone for us. We are anticipating that exact same sort of effort, and he feels like he’s close, so I feel good about that.”
He missed the entire spring workouts and has missed the first three weeks of training camp so far. The Lions hope Bell returns to the form he showed during the second half of last season, when he had more than 100 all-purpose yards in four of the last seven regular-season games. It's good news Caldwell expects him to return as the bell cow, but now it's up to Bell. When Bell returns, the story went on to say, he is likely to be the starter in a backfield that includes rookie Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick, as well as George Winn and Zach Zenner fighting for a potential No. 4 running back spot.
Loins beat writer Justin Rogers was asked if RB Joique Bell is still the starter.
Rogers: Yes. Not only that, as long as he's healthy, I expect Bell to get the majority of carries each week.
Ameer Abdullah's start was electric, but that doesn't mean he leaps straight to the top of the depth chart.
The story continued to say in an ideal world for the Lions, the starter tag won't matter. Bell, Abdullah and even Theo Riddick will form a balanced attack that keeps opponents guessing and the chains moving. That's not the ideal fantasy situation but we can at least conclude Bell gets his share of early down and short yardage carries while Abdullah sees a lot of work in the passing downs and as an electric change of pace. Abdullah's value comes in PPR leagues. The addition of Abdullah puts Riddick's role in question as well as his fantasy value. If there's an injury, Riddick will be a popular waiver pickup.
Abdullah's popularity is skyrocketing following a stellar preseason debut, but Riddick, who actually started the game in place of the injured Joique Bell, also had a strong showing in the 23-3 win against the New York Jets.
He finished the contest with eight carries for 35 yards. That's nearly as many rushing yards as he had all of last season.
Where Riddick has previously thrived for the Lions is as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. But on the ground, Riddick hasn't shown much in his two seasons. He's averaged just 2.9 yards on his 29 carries. The longest run of his brief career was for nine yards. Against the Jets, Riddick showed improved vision, balance and elusiveness, picking up gains of seven, eight and nine yards in the first half. The story added if Riddick continues to improve there should be more carries for him even with Bell and Abdullah around. That's probably not great news for fantasy owners if this turns into a three-headed monster at running back. For now, we still see the value in Bell as an early-down rusher and Abdullah a change of pace with a lot of work in the passing game.
Lions Beat: Reps may 'fluctuate' based on matchup, but Joique Bell and Ameer Abdullah will split touchesWednesday, August 12, 2015, 2:33pm
The Lions are pretty excited about Abdullah, and rightfully so. He’s looked really good this first week of camp.
But don’t discount what Joique Bell can bring to the table behind a more consistent and athletic offensive line this year. Bell had to scratch and claw his way from team to team and practice squad to practice squad before finally getting his shot. A guy like that plays with an edge. A player like that has value.
Bell told me recently he’s finally pain-free for the first time in a couple years and motivated to have a great season.
Running backs coach Curtis Modkins likes the running back by committee style and Bell will have an important role as a tough, hard-nosed runner inside. Abdullah is a big-play threat with speed and agility and will be a nice complement to Bell's tougher running style.
I expect that the reps will fluctuate between the two depending on the weekly matchup, but it's unlikely we ever see a 3-to-1 or 2-to-1 ratio one over the other if both stay healthy.
We currently project a 217-to-194 ratio for Bell and Abdullah, so that falls in line with what Twentyman believes will happen once the regular season begins. Abdullah gets the nod in PPR formats, but Bell has the edge in our standard rankings.
This is good news for Bell, and should take some wind out of the sails of Ameer Abdullah's rising ADP. Bell was the #14 RB in standard formats (#13 in PPR), while racking up 257 touches in 15 games. That works out to a 17.1-touch average. It's doubtful that they'll drastically scale back his workload.
Monday, August 3, 2015, 7:19pm
Here are some notes from Monday's Lions camp:
- Tight end Eric Ebron, always a focal point, made a pair of nice grabs across the middle of the field. A couple snaps later, Ebron made a difficult back-shoulder grab over linebacker Stephen Tulloch, leaping and twisting to haul in the Matthew Stafford throw.
- Stafford picked up right where he left off from minicamp, with good accuracy at all levels. He completed eight of his first 10 passes in team drills, with the two incompletions both being knocked away from Corey Fuller by a defender. Late in the session, Stafford connected on a bomb down the middle to Calvin Johnson, over Darius Slay and Glover Quin.
- Johnson, perhaps energized by the crowd and the first day of the camp, was more aggressive than usual. The star wide receiver ended up on the ground multiple times during the non-contact session, including a diving grab on an out route against Slay in one-on-one drills. Coach Jim Caldwell said he'll need to remind Johnson not to willingly leave his feet during practice.
- We can still only tell so much without pads, but running back Ameer Abdullah's ability to change direction and burst through the running lane is evident. He also successfully ran a nice delayed screen, weaving his way through the second level of defenders. The second-round draft pick has shown steady improvement from the day he stepped on the field with this organization and looks like he's going to be a significant contributor from the start.
- Joseph Fauria looks healthy after missing much of the early portion of the offseason program. The big tight end caught a pass down the middle, double-clutching it as safety Don Carey dove in front trying to knock it down. Fauria then sprinted all the way to the end zone and revved up the crowd with a little, let's call it gyration.
- Joique Bell worked out on the side with a trainer, with the running back aggressively running suicide sprints. It doesn't appear he'll be out of action long.
Bell had clean-up surgeries this off-season on his knee and Achilles tendon, and like Waddle missed all of spring workouts.
Bell is expected to start at running back, but split time with rookie second-round pick Ameer Abdullah when he returns.
This is not a huge deal, but it's noteworthy that Bell is not yet fully recovered from his offseason ailments. Bell was the #14 RB in standard formats (#13 in PPR), while racking up 257 touches in 15 games. That works out to a 17.1-touch average. While he certainly benefited from Reggie Bush's injury-plagued season, Bell dominated the touches even when Bush was active and playing. When healthy, he should continue to see RB1-type touches in 2015 with Bush out of the way, though the arrival of Abdullah is a concern.
Lions beat writer Michael Rothstein (of ESPN) projects Joique Bell to start over Ameer Abdullah, adding, "The Lions ranked 28th in rushing last season, but Bell had a career year putting up 860 yards with seven touchdowns."
Bell was the #14 RB in standard formats (#13 in PPR), while racking up 257 touches in 15 games. That works out to a 17.1-touch average. While he certainly benefited from Reggie Bush's injury-plagued season, Bell dominated the touches even when Bush was active and playing. He should continue to see RB1-type touches in 2015 with Bush out of the way, though the arrival of Abdullah is a concern.
The Lions were about a 58-42 pass to run team last season. HC Jim aldwell wants that number closer to 50-50.
Caldwell wants to run the ball more consistently and that couldn’t be more evident than with the selection of guard Laken Tomlinson in the first round and running back Ameer Abdullah in the second round.
Abdullah is going to play a similar role as Reggie Bush did in this offense and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets somewhere in the range of 15 touches per game as a runner and pass catcher.
Joique Bell was the team's leading rusher last year and averaged about 15 carries per game. If Abdullah is as good as the Lions think he’ll be, I’m guessing he gets around 15 touches per game early in the season and potentially builds on that as the year goes on.
We currently project Abdullah for 11.3 touches per game (3.6 catches), so Twentyman's projection is aggressive. The Lions are going to have to get closer to that aforementioned 50/50 split if they're going to support both Abdullah and Bell as viable fantasy starters. If he meets these expectations, Abdullah is shaping up as a nice value in the late 4th or 5th round.
Lions RB Joique Bell missed most of last spring’s workouts recovering from an injury and had the best statistical season of his career, but there seems to be more concern this time around with Bell. Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said during OTAs that while the team expects Bell to fully recover from his knee and Achilles injuries from last season, there is concern until they see him back on the field.
Bell recently predicted a 1,200-yard season, so he doesn't seem to be too worried about his health. Bell was the #14 RB in standard formats (#13 in PPR), while racking up 257 touches in 15 games. That works out to a 17.1-touch average. While he certainly benefited from Reggie Bush's injury-plagued season, Bell dominated the touches even when Bush was active and playing. If healthy, he should continue to see RB1-type touches in 2015 with Bush out of the way, though the arrival of Ameer Abdullah is a concern.
Detroit has thrown the ball more than it has rushed it every season since 2001 according to ESPN Stats & Information. The closest the Detroit Lions have come to "balance" was in 2004, when Detroit ran the ball 407 times and attempted 505 passes.
In Detroit's more successful seasons, the Lions have trended much heavier toward the pass. In 2011, one of the two seasons Detroit made the playoffs this century, the Lions rushed the ball 356 times and had 666 passing attempts, completing 423 of them.
Last season, Detroit ran the ball 396 times and threw it 604 times, completing 365 passes. So while the Lions appeared to focus their draft on improving a run game that had its worst yards per carry since 2003, don't expect to see a massive play-call shift.
"It's all quarterbacking," former NFL QB Elvis Grbac said. "I got in a league where Drew Bledsoe was starting to come in and just in the last 10 years, retired since 2001, so it's been some time. But just the league in general, it's quarterback-driven. If you don't have a quarterback, you're screwed."
The story went on to say: A 50-50 split hasn't been typical for Jim Caldwell historically. In his three seasons as head coach in Indianapolis, the Colts never rushed more than 393 times in a season. They never threw less than 534 times in a year, and that was in 2011 when Peyton Manning was injured. The only sample size in which a team coordinated or led by Caldwell has had more runs than passes came during the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl run in 2012, when Caldwell took over leading into Week 15. Through the final three weeks of the regular season and the playoffs, the Ravens ran the ball 249 times and passed it 235 times. The following season was more in line with what happened in Indianapolis, where Baltimore had 423 rushes to 619 passes.
Much of the same is expected this year, and the story mentioned how Grbac thinks QB Matthew Stafford has progressed nicely in the offense. The team lost pass-catching RB Reggie Bush, but seems to have a more than capable replacement in Ameer Abdullah, who looks like he's going to hurt the value of Theo Riddick. Both Joique Bell and Abdullah crack our top-31 backs, with Abdullah having top-25 potential in PPR leagues. Stafford is just 13th on our QB list, but if WR Calvin Johnson can stay healthy Stafford could crack the top-10 and be a nice value at QB with an ADP of the ninth round.
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