The Detroit Lions are about as unsettled in their backfield as any other team in the NFL today. Kevin Smith has played fairly well, and Mikel Leshoure is expected back from suspension for the team’s next game Sunday against the struggling Tennessee Titans. With Joique Bell also in the mix, one would think that would be enough to piece together a satisfying enough running back committee.
While many are reporting that Leshoure will take over the starting duties rather shortly, the Lions announced that they will bring in both Ryan Grant and Steve Slaton as cast-off running backs still looking to prove that they have something left in the tank.
My guess is that they do not, but the Lions might want to find that theory out for themselves.
Still, if they are reportedly sold on Smith and high on Leshoure, bringing in Grant and Slaton tells us one of two things.
First, Detroit has absolutely no confidence in Smith staying healthy and Leshoure staying out of trouble. If they did, they could go with Smith and Leshoure, and hope that Jahvid Best may be actually cleared to return following his stint on the PUP list around the seventh game of the season.
If they do believe that Smith can stay healthy and Leshoure can stay out of trouble, they must have little faith in them forming a competent backfield going forward. Why else would you bring in Slaton, who could not even make the Miami Dolphins this season, or Grant, who reportedly wanted to much money during Training Camp?
The short of it is that we just do not know. It could be frustration with a 1-1 record. It could be the fact that the offense struggled to move the ball and take some pressure off of Matthew Stafford under center, although they dropped Sunday night’s game on the road to the San Francisco 49ers. You cannot be all that upset that the ground game did not get going when it comes to playing against the 49ers.
Either way, expect the Lions’ unsettled backfield situation to continue as the season progresses. They got little very production on the ground in 2011, and they must be highly concerned that the same thing could happen in 2012.
Speaks volumes as to what they truly feel in regards to Smith, Leshoure, Best and Bell.
It is not exactly as if any other team has been beating down the doors of Grant and Slaton around the rest of the league.