It has been eight years since the Lions have had a running back who gained more than 1,000 yards in a season.
The last guy to do it was Kevin Jones. Since then, a revolving door of role players have failed to get to the four-digit threshold, a task that has become more difficult as the franchise has skewed more and more toward the passing game.
Former Bills offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins, who now serves as running backs coach and run game coordinator in Detroit, hopes to change that.
“I think [offensive coordinator] Scott [Linehan] wants people to have to defend everything,” Modkins told the team’s official website. “When you have the ability to both run and pass and screen and draw and do all sorts of things, I think the defense has to defend everything. Whether we run it or pass it, I want a defense to have to defend the possibility of both and be afraid of both. . . .
“With Calvin [Johnson] and the receivers we have in place, the quarterback and what they’ve done in the passing game here, it does allow you to have some boxes that are conducive to having a good running game. I’m excited to see what we can do with that. It’s a little different than what I’ve seen the last three years [in Buffalo].”
Modkins, who also said that Jahvid Best could play a C.J. Spiller-type role if/when Best is ever cleared to play, will be expected to get the most out of the guys on the roster, including Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell.
Maybe Reggie Bush could play the C.J. Spiller role for the Lions. It’s a possibility that Peter King raised earlier this week, calling Bush a “perfect fit” for the Lions.
Actually, the fit isn’t perfect. Bush will want more money than the Lions can afford to pay under the cap, and Bush is looking to be a workhorse tailback. Still, if no one else hands him the starting tailback job, the Lions could make a lot of sense for a guy who has made a lot of money and who already has his Super Bowl ring.