Lions’ Joique Bell won’t assume he has starting RB job

BELL: Detroit Lions running back Joique Bell will lead the way in the backfield next season. (Detroit Free Press photo)

BELL: Detroit Lions running back Joique Bell will lead the way in the backfield next season. (Detroit Free Press photo)

DETROIT — Detroit Lions running back Joique Bell isn’t ready to declare himself the starter. Even if he basically was last season, when Reggie Bush underperformed and struggled with an injury.

“I think that’s something you have to talk to coach (Jim) Caldwell about,” Bell said during organized team activities. “He knows the depth chart better than I do. I can’t give out false (estimations) right now.”

Bush was released after a sub-par season and for cost-cutting reasons. But Bell clearly took the lead in the run game. While not as explosive as Bush could be, Bell was largely effective. They both averaged 3.9 yards per carry, but Bell racked up 860 yards on 223 carries, while Bush had only 297 yards on 76 carries.

Even with Bush gone, Bell wasn’t ready to speculate about how his role might change.

“We’ll see when the season gets here,” he said. “I don’t plan out the roles. I go out to do what the team needs.”

Bell likely will help lead the way for a young corps of running backs that includes second-round pick Ameer Abdullah, a smaller, speedy back who likely could fill Bush’s role. And Theo Riddick, a speedy back with good receiving skills, also will be in the mix.

Caldwell said he prefers to have several running backs fill different roles, rather than one go-to bell cow.

“Typically now, in this day and age, you generally don’t have just one guy at that position because it requires teamwork,” Caldwell said. “It requires more than one or two, so there’s a role for all of those guys.

“The thing about it, we don’t have two guys the same, for the most part. They all have a little different sort of strength and we can utilize that. You know, Joique is a power back who also can get on the edge and he can catch the ball out of the backfield. Theo is probably a little bit more of an edge guy. I’m not saying he can’t run inside, but he’s along the edge a little bit more. So, you know, those are different players. I think when you get a chance to see Ameer, you’ll kind of see what his style is as well. He’s pretty versatile.”

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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