Jim Schwartz gave embattled kicker David Akers a public vote of confidence after he missed his fifth kick of the season in Thursday’s 40-10 win over the Green Bay Packers, but the Detroit Lions are planning to work out kickers next week as they weigh their options at the position.
Akers, who signed a one-year deal to replace long-time kicker Jason Hanson in April, has made just 15 of 20 field-goal attempts this year and the Lions rank 29th in the league in field-goal percentage.
Akers missed a 31-yarder on Thanksgiving against the Packers and is coming off a shaky season with the 49ers, so the Lions have to play this one smart as the playoffs drawn near. Akers is safe - for now.
Lions OC Scott Linehan also said running back Joique Bell is earning himself more touches every week with continued good play in both the run and pass game.
Bell’s 67-yard run in the fourth quarter was the longest of the season for the Lions and set up a Jason Hanson field goal that gave them a 33-21 lead at the time.
“I think we talked about how he did in preseason,” Linehan said of Bell. “The more he played, the more he produced and that hasn't changed. It's been that way all year. The way he ran the ball and has been playing certainly gives him an opportunity now, I think for more opportunities.”
Bell has 335 rushing yards (5.7 avg) and 333 receiving yards this season with three touchdowns. Mikel LeShoure had 21 carries for 57 yards and a TD last week, so don't be surprised to see Bell cut into those carries, at least a bit more after going for seven carries and 81 yards last week. LeShoure is still the guy to own in standard leagues, but Bell can have some PPR value, especially in deeper leagues.