The Lions hired former Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi as their offensive coordinator this offseason, which is leading to some comparisons between his old team and his new team.
First-round pick Eric Ebron will be in a Jimmy Graham-type role, Reggie Bush will do a lot of what he used to do in New Orleans and Theo Riddick will be doing his best to resemble Darren Sproles. That last one might have eluded your notice, but quarterback Dan Orlovsky is convinced that Riddick will be a breakout star this season.
“This kid, he wasn’t covered a single time in OTAs and minicamp,” Orlovsky said on the Ross Tucker Football Podcast, via the Detroit Free Press. “And I think that it’s even going to be easier for him when he gets pads on because, once linebackers just try to start colliding him, and that’s what teams started to do with Sproles sometimes. … You hit the home run once every 10 plays, and then 9 out of 10 times, Sproles wins. And that’s what I think Theo’s going to do for us. Theo’s that kind of guy where he has a really good feel, a really good vision, really good suddenness. If he doesn’t have 50 catches this year, I’ll be surprised. He’s going to have opportunities and he’s really talented at it.”
Riddick didn’t play much as a rookie and remains behind Bush and Joique Bell on the depth chart, but the Saints made a lot of use of multiple backs during Lombardi’s time in New Orleans. They were effective with that approach by focusing on what the individual backs did well, something that you’d expect to continue in Detroit even if direct comparisons to Sproles turn out to be a bit of a reach as far as Riddick is concerned.