Count defensive coordinator Teryl Austin among those who think that Abdullah has what it takes to fulfill those hopes. Austin said Saturday that his unit has found it difficult to stop Abdullah during training camp practices.
“We can’t even tackle that guy,” Austin said, via the Detroit Free Press. “We can’t even touch him. He’s like grasping at air.”
Running backs coach Curtis Modkins took a more reserved stance on his charge, saying that while Abdullah shows “unique ability” there is a difference between impressing in practices and impressing against opposing defenses on Sundays. That’s certainly true and Abdullah says he has “so much I have to improve” before he’ll thrive in the NFL, but the team wouldn’t have used a second-round pick on him if they weren’t confident he could do so.
With Joique Bell still working his way back to practice after knee and Achilles surgeries, Abdullah should get plenty of opportunities in the preseason to show whether his ability to make people miss translates beyond friendly competition with the Lions defense. His first crack comes against the Jets this week, the story went on to say. Abdullah is ranked 30th on our list and is getting drafted around the fifth round. Abdullah probably isn't an every down back but can be productive from a fantasy standpoint in the Lions offense if he takes over Reggie Bush's old role.
Broncos QB Peyton Manning confirmed that RB Ronnie Hillman will get the start against the Jets in Week 6.
"Ronnie has played at different times, in different amounts, but when you're the starting back and running out there in pregame warm-ups as a starting back, it's a different hat that you wear," said Manning, who is but a quarter of the way through his third season in Denver. "There's no question he has a burst that is pretty unique when he gets the ball in his hands. It's our job to give him space."
Initially, the Broncos thought Montee Ball was headed for injured reserve with a designation to return after eight games. That's why the team brought in veteran running backs Mikel Leshoure and LaRod Stephens-Howling for workouts Tuesday.
But a magnetic resonance imaging exam offered hope Ball might miss only a month or so with his groin strain. The Broncos added running back depth Wednesday by signing former Oakland Raider Jeremy Stewart to their practice squad, but otherwise the team is planning on going with Hillman, C.J. Anderson and Juwan Thompson until further notice. Thompson, a rookie, sat out practice Wednesday with a sore left knee.
"You can't do it with just one back in today's game, so we expect C.J. to do his job, Juwan to be ready," Manning said.
We expect that Anderson and Thompson will be in the mix, especially if Hillman struggles early, which seems likely given the state of the Bronco running game (not good) and the quality of the Jets' rush defense (very good, though Branden Oliver torched it in Week 5). Owners should keep in mind that Hillman has had fumbling problems in the past, and HC John Fox is not afraid to bench a player if he can't keep hold of the ball. Consider Hillman a low-end RB2/flex type this week.
Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson made it clear last month that sluggish running back Trent Richardson "needs to answer the bell" this season.
If Richardson can't improve upon his preseason average of 2.6 yards per carry, Grigson will need to explore alternatives beyond injury-prone veteran Ahmad Bradshaw and unproven Dan "Boom" Herron.
To that end, the Colts are meeting with free agent Mikel Leshoure, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Leshoure would provide more depth at running back after Vick Ballard's season-ending injury. He could also push Richardson to be the primary back if T-Rich continues to disappoint. Bradshaw would still be the most talented back in Indianapolis, but his neck injury makes him unreliable as a bell cow.
Aug 30, 2014 · 10:55 AM EDT
RB Mikel Leshoure still sees himself as a featured back, but that was never going to happen in Detroit.
Now he's free to pursue a featured role wherever he likes.
The Lions have informed Leshoure he'll be among their 22 cuts Saturday, according to the Detroit Free Press.