Lions beat writer Kyle Meinke on Theo Riddick's role in 2015:
HC Jim Caldwell has already said he expects Riddick to be a bigger part of the fold this year. But I think it could end up being mostly as a pass-catcher. I could see a scenario where many of his reps came out of the slot.
Think of it this way: Detroit's running game was awful last year, finishing 28th. Reggie Bush struggled with ankle injuries for a couple months. And the Lions still gave Riddick only 20 touches on the ground.
If Detroit didn't think Riddick could help on the ground under those circumstances, I have a hard time seeing how it happens this year after adding Ameer Abdullah. Unless Riddick totally remakes his game, which I guess is possible. I'm just not banking on it.
Hyde did not practice on Thursday. Coach Jim Tomsula said the second-year running back is being held out due to an undisclosed leg injury.
“He’s working through the leg. It’s nothing," Tomsula said. "We want you 100 percent. We’re doing this offseason thing and we’re doing things fast and we’re doing all those things, so we’re not going to push. It’s not the season, so we’re trying to treat that the right way.”
Tomsula's "it's nothing" comment is as encouraging as Hyde's tweet is discouraging. Hyde is expected to take over as the team's primary ball-carrier, with Reggie Bush assuming the passing down role. Given Bush's presence and Hyde's 4.0 YPC during in his rookie season, Hyde is probably being overdrafted as he's been going in the middle of the 3rd round of early PPR drafts. Expect 250 or so carries and a limited role in the passing game.
Joique Bell will open the season as the starter, but expect Ameer Abdullah to shoulder much of the rushing load early as well. Detroit would not have taken him that high if it planned on Theo Riddick being the No. 2. The powerful Bell and speedy Abdullah will complement each other, much as Bell and Reggie Bush did in previous years. Riddick probably will be used a lot like he was last year, as a receiver out of the backfield.
Most scouts seem to agree that Abdullah doesn’t project to be an every-down back, so Bell’s between-the-tackles role should be safe, at least for this season. On the other hand, Riddick’s role as the Lions’ third-down back is in serious jeopardy. If things break his way and he sees significant time on passing downs, Abdullah could ultimately post top 25 numbers in PPR formats.
Carlos Hyde will have to move on from Frank Gore's mentorship and carve out a bigger role in 2015, a year that figures to showcase a new-look 49ers team. Besides the changing of the guard in the 49ers backfield, Hyde has undergone another major change this offseason.
His body is different. Hyde slimmed down 15 pounds since his rookie year.
General manager Trent Baalke touted Hyde as one of the most noticeably different players in the team's offseason program.
Hyde is expected to take over as the team's primary ball-carrier, with Reggie Bush assuming the passing down role. Given Bush's presence and Hyde's 4.0 YPC during in his rookie season, Hyde is probably being overdrafted as he's been going at the beginning of the 3rd round of early PPR drafts. Expect 250 or so carries and a somewhat limited role in the passing game, though there is upside here if the new offense falls into place.
Hyde is expected to take over as the team's primary ball-carrier, with Reggie Bush assuming the passing down role. Given Bush's presence and Hyde's 4.0 YPC during in his rookie season, Hyde is probably being overdrafted as he's been going in the middle of the 3rd round of early PPR drafts. Expect 250 or so carries and a limited role in the passing game.
Saturday, April 11, 2015, 1:43pm
Friday, April 10, 2015, 4:40pm
Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi was recently asked about his run game at a Town Hall Meeting for season ticket holders.
It was a legitimate question considering that was one of the biggest issues on that side of the ball a season ago. The Lions ranked 28th in rushing last season and decided to cut ties with Reggie Bush this offseason, just two years into a four-year deal he signed in 2013.
“I think it is a work in progress,” Lombardi said. “Joique we love. He’s a tough guy. Runs hard. Just keeping him healthy will be key. I’m very excited for Theo (Riddick) and have been since I first got here. I think we’re going to see great things from him.”
Bell led the Lions in rushing yards (860) and touchdowns (7) in 2014. Riddick caught 34 passes and scored four touchdowns.
The story goes on to say that head coach Jim Caldwell expects better production from that aspect of the Lions offense in 2015. The Lions are expected to add another running back via the draft. They’ve already hosted a couple of top running back prospects in Todd Gurley and Tevin Coleman on pre-draft visits.
"We try and give (the ball) to the guys who are going to do something with it, and I think he's going to be one of those guys who's going to force us to give him the ball more," Caldwell said last week at the NFL owners meetings. "I think you're really going to see him come along."
Caldwell expects Riddick's role to grow next season, though that could depend on what kind of tailback the team adds in April's draft. Riddick is a plus-plus pass catcher out of the backfield, but hasn't shown any kind of chops yet on the ground -- yet.
"He has all the qualities. Here's the thing -- if you're smart, if you're tough, if you're disciplined, if you have a great work ethic, there's improvement ahead. And he has all those things. So I think he's going to improve, and I think he's going to force us to get him the ball a little bit more in some situations."
Reggie Bush’s departure should give Riddick the opportunity to shine as the team's primary passing down back. He averaged 5.0 catches for 53 yards for 13.2 fantasy points in PPR formats in the five games that Bush missed last season. That's about what Fred Jackson averaged as the #17 running back in 2014. If the Lions don't add a running back early in the draft, then Riddick should be a sleeper in PPR formats.
Bush is expected to fill a third-down role since it looks like Carlos Hyde is ready to carry most of the rushing load, though Tomsula's comments indicate that Bush's presence should be a concern for Hyde owners who were excited about the young back's opportunity with Frank Gore gone. The 49ers don't typically use their running backs in the passing game, though longtime OC Greg Roman is gone and new OC Geep Chryst may have a different plan in mind.
After finishing in the top 20 for three straight seasons in PPR points per game (including #6 in 2013), Bush was #32 in that category last season. His departure should solidify Joique Bell's workload and give Theo Riddick the opportunity to shine as the team's primary passing down back. Bell finished #14 in standard formats and #13 in PPR, so he should continue to produce high-end RB2 numbers provided he stays healthy and the Lions don't make any major moves at running back. As for Riddick, he averaged 13.2 fantasy points (in PPR formats) in the five games that Bush missed last season. That's about what Fred Jackson averaged as the #17 running back in 2014.
Lions RB Joique Bell, who underwent minor offseason surgery, said everything was good from a health standpoint and that he’s started working out. He plans to be back for organized team activities (OTAs) in April, but couldn’t commit to being 100 percent for them just yet.
It sounds like he's on a path to a full recovery. Bell was the #17 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. Bell should continue to see RB1-type touches in 2015, though we'd feel better about his situation if Bush were out of the way. Bush is signed for two more seasons and is a cut candidate heading into the offseason.
Monday, December 22, 2014, 12:29pm
Reggie Bush lives. There had been doubt as to the veracity of that fact, given his inability to stay on the field, and struggles to produce during those brief flashes when he was able to play. During one seven-game stretch, he rushed for 30 yards.
Bush is a supposed deep threat who had as many ankle injuries (three) as 10-yard carries (three) in the first 15 weeks of the season. But the veteran showed some flashes of that old brilliance against Chicago.
That includes bouncing one run to the left and turning on the burners like it was 2005. He beat the Bears to the edge, dove at the pylon and scored on a 13-yard touchdown, the only first-half points for this struggling offense. He showed good vision on other carries, and caught the ball well too, hauling in six catches for 44 yards.
Joique Bell should absolutely remain the Lions' No. 1 option in the backfield, the story went on to say. But of course that's contingent on Bell being eligible to play. He was benched for one quarter Sunday due to a violation of team rules, and Bush provided some important production in his stead, lending more legitimacy to the belief the rushing game is approaching competent levels for Detroit's most important stretch of games in ages.
Sure, Reggie Bush's name is still on top of the team's unofficial depth chart, but Bell plays significantly more snaps and gets significantly more touches than his veteran teammate.
Because of poor offensive execution, the Lions played 27 percent fewer snaps than average in the team's 16-14 win against the Minnesota Vikings. Bell worked two-thirds of the plays. Bush, who continues to deal with nagging injuries played just 14 snaps, while Theo Riddick received the game's first carry, but played just one more rep the rest of the way.
The story points out the Lions are leaning on Bell for good reason. He's been running with authority in recent weeks, averaging better than four yards per carry in five of the past six games. He's also seeing an increase in pass-game production, catching a combined nine balls for 91 yards in wins over Tampa Bay and Minnesota. Bell has a very friendly matchup in Week 16 against the Bears before closing with the Packers in Week 17.
Friday, December 12, 2014, 6:26pm
Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle, questionable) took limited practice reps again Friday and is questionable for Week 15. Bush gained a meager 34 yards on 12 touches in Week 14, but the workload gives him some flex appeal (especially in PPR formats) against a shaky Minnesota rush defense. Joique Bell is expected to carry most of the rushing load against the Vikings. The Lions play late on Sunday.
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