The Lions signed Jed Collins to fill the traditional blocking fullback role. That follows the signing of tailback Joique Bell to a three-year deal worth $9.3 million.
But the cash-strapped Lions also would not be making these investments if they were not serious about actually featuring all these backs in the offense. Team president Tom Lewand confirmed as much this week.
"You're going to see some more two-back sets," Lewand told a small crowd this week at the TAP restaurant in the MGM casino in downtown Detroit. He added that they would mimic what New Orleans has done with deploying a multitude of tailbacks.
"It's a very adaptable offense, and they want to use the talent and the guys that we have, not just one back at a time because that's what the personnel group calls for."
The Lions wanted to use more two-back sets last year after signing fullback Montell Owens, but Owens played only one offensive series due to a pair of knee injuries. Bell and Bush were occasionally featured on the field at the same time, though those formations usually split Bush out at receiver.
The Lions are paying Bell about the same as what Ben Tate and Toby Gerhart signed for, so it's starting to look like Bell will play the Pierre Thomas/Mark Ingram role in the Lions offense with Reggie Bush returning to more of a Darren Sproles-like role as a receiving specialist. Bell's stock is up while Bush's is down.