Detroit Lions RB Competition

Heading into the 2015-2016 season, the Detroit Lions have a crowded backfield. In today’s NFL, that’s not a bad thing. Many teams are moving to the running back by committee model. In this model, teams can not only keep fresh legs on the field at all times, but they also believe they can prolong the length of an NFL running back’s career. Many of these backs today begin to decline by age 27 or 28 when athletes in other sports would be just hitting their prime. Let’s take a look at who is expected to be splitting the carries for the Lions this season.

Joique Bell 5’11” 229 lbs

Bell shared the carries last season with Reggie Bush who is now with the 49ers but for the most part was the lead back. Bell was given 223 carries to Bush’s 76. Both managed a pedestrian 3.9 yards per carry but Bell managed 8 total touchdowns (7 rushing, 1 receiving). Bell showed great flashes and even proved to be a threat receiving the ball out of the backfield compiling 34 receptions for 322 yards. Bell figures to get a good share of the carries, especially between the tackles but there is a rookie right behind him in the pecking order.

Ameer Abdullah 5’9″ 205 lbs

Ameer Abdullah, detroit lions

Ameer Abdullah

The Lions selected Abdullah with the 54th overall pick in the 2015 draft. Abdullah had a decorated career at Nebraska rushing for over 1,600 yards in both his junior and senior season while also eclipsing 1,000 yards as a sophomore. For his career at Nebraska, Abdullah ran for 4,588 yards and 39 touchdowns. A threat in the passing game as well, Abdullah caught 73 passes for 690 yards and another 7 touchdowns. As a 2nd round pick, Abdullah will certainly be given his opportunities.

Theo Riddick 5’9″ 200 lbs

Riddick was selected in the 6th round with the 199th pick in the 2013 draft out of Notre Dame. He has not been much of a threat on the ground garnering 29 carries for 76 yards and 1 touchdown in his first 2 seasons in the league. He has however found a niche as a 3rd down back being a safety valve in the passing game for Matthew Stafford. In limited time in 2014, Riddick caught 34 passes for 316 yards and 4 touchdowns. Riddick will certainly find ways to get on the field this season because of his ability to make plays.

Another name to look out for is rookie fullback Michael Burton. Burton was selected in the 5th round (168th pick) in the 2015 draft out of Rutgers. After playing his senior season at 232 pounds, Burton weighed in at 242 in his pre-draft measurables and showed up to camp at 250. Burton has added the needed muscle to play fullback in the NFL. Primarily a lead blocker, Burton to manage to showcase some offensive skill in a poor Rutgers offense during he tenure. He managed 47 receptions for 401 yards and 3 touchdowns through the air and had 22 rushes for 116 yards on the ground. With an offense that allows him to do more, Burton could be a hidden option for the Lions.

Tim Tebow is Back

Tim Tebow last suited up in the NFL for the New England Patriots in 2013 during the preseason but ultimately did not make the roster. Since that time, he has done some broadcasting work for the SEC Network while working out in hopes of making an NFL comeback. It seems that time has come. Tim Tebow is signing with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Tebow will join a crowded depth chart at quarterback with Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley, and GJ Kinne currently on the roster. While he’s no lock to make the team, it is a great opportunity for Tebow who had not been receiving much attention from NFL teams.

Will Selva - Tim TebowTebow figures to fit the Eagles quite well. It’s no secret head coach Chip Kelly likes to keep the offense moving and with that you need a mobile quarterback. While Tebow has not proven to be an excellent passer, he has proven to use his legs well. With that said, it does not look like he’s in competition for the starting role but more as a backup. They may be inclined to use him in certain packages that allow him to run the option because he runs well for a quarterback.

Simply put, for Tebow to get back to where he was in 2011 in Denver he’ll need a string of injuries and he’ll have to play well in the preseason to show he belongs in the NFL. He did not prove much during the preseason with the Patriots and that led to no one picking him up once cut. It’ll be interesting to see how Tebow Mania effects Philadelphia.

Broncos-Chargers Thoughts

It’s been suggested that this incarnation of the Chargers is a team of destiny. I think that might be a reach, but I am becoming more of a believer in the mystical power that has become the “Bolo Mojo.” Their demeanor exudes a carefree mentality that’s been noticeably present during this 5 game magic carpet ride.

It’s reason enough for Broncos fans to be a tad leery on Sunday. Never mind the fact that the Chargers went to Denver last month and won only adds to the angst felt in the Mile High City. The Broncos defense has clearly showed that it has problems stopping the run, but they may get a boost from the news that Chargers running back Ryan Mathews could miss Sunday’s contest with a bum ankle.

will selva football field

Will Selva gives his thoughts on the Broncos and the Chargers.

Phillip Rivers, who’s the highest rated QB in NFL history (96.0) not to have advanced to the Super Bowl, has not made any back-breaking mistakes during their winning streak. Still, the Broncos can counteract with a prolific offense that can strike quickly and often, putting more pressure on the Chargers corners. Peyton Manning will also be armed with his full compliment of weapons, namely Wes Welker, who’s recovered fully from his concussion.

However, Manning must now do what he hasn’t done before in the playoffs in two tries: Beat the Bolts. The other stat that haunts Manning at this time of the year is this: He’s had the most one and dones than any quarterback in NFL history. It’s hard to pick against him, but the Chargers are ripe for the upset. What can you say? They’ve got that Bolo Mojo workin’ right now.

The Raiders A Tranquil Beacon Of Stability?

The Redskins have successfully made the Raiders, yes the Raiders, the tranquil beacons of stability in the NFL. Think about that for a second. Washington is now a powder keg with head coach Mike Shanahan holding the matches, ready to light the fuse. In perhaps his final combustible decision, Shanahan has shut down his franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III for the rest of the season.

His reasoning is that RG3 has been sacked 24 times in five games and wanted him healthy for the off season. That may very well be true, but that reasoning sounds awfully flimsy. If he was really concerned about his health, then why did he have Griffin playing in the snow last Sunday against the Chiefs? Lions running back Reggie Bush got hurt just in WARM-UPS prior to the snow bowl with the Eagles. Why didn’t he shut him down then? Makes no sense.

I spoke with former GM Charlie Casserly when the news came down and he said the sack total is a bit of a misnomer if you watch game tape of Washington and KC. RG3 is running out of bounds and not necessarily absorbing vicious blows time after time. The other point Casserly made to me is that Griffin’s mechanics are now off. He’s not throwing the football like he did prior to his knee injury and that needs to be corrected. Shanahan claims that he spoke with owner Dan Snyder last week to discuss the future of the young signal caller, but it’s painfully clear, this is a power play by the head coach.


Will Selva discusses the Raider’s current performance in the NFL.

Shanahan did not like the fact that RG3 had a cozy relationship with Snyder if reports are to be believed. It’s as if Shanahan is daring Snyder to fire him over this move. Besides, Shanahan wants to get paid the remaining 7 million of his contract. For Kirk Cousins, this is now a 3 game audition. The Redskins are rooting hard that he does well, while the Rams want him to badly flame out. Remember, the Rams hold the Redskins top pick from the mammoth RG3 trade.  Cousins could significantly increase his trade value with solid play over the final 3 regular season games.

Meanwhile, Snyder has stayed above the fray and not said a word through all of this. Good move too, he doesn’t want to be hit from all the stray debris that’s about to be strewn all over Redskins Park.