Wednesday, August 26, 2009

RB Battle Dust Begins to Settle

RB Battle Dust Begins to Settle

August 26th, 2009 | by detfan1979 |

As Camp winds down, the preseason is half over, and the Turk is gearing up for the first round of cuts roster battles intensify, and solidify. Lets look beyond the QB debate, and into two other positions where there is some heated competition taking place: RB now, and WR tonight.

At RB, Brian VanOchten absurdly suggested advocated signing TJ Duckett because the Lions have a “glaring hole” at short yardage back. His reasoning? Cason was stuffed for one 4th and short in the preseason loss to the Browns. Ummm…Brian, while I like TJ Duckett, and agree they should have kept him at the end of 2007, that was then — this is 2 years later. He is two years older. Kevin Smith is the feature back. Oh yeah, the Lions also have this young sledgehammer named Jerome Felton. When running what I would consider the true Jumbo package (Terelle Smith at FB blocking for Felton carrying the ball), Felton knocked over defenders and dragged them along for extra yardage in the Browns game. He is a load to bring down, and will be the bruising back that grinds down the defense, and hammers short yardage situations while 34K gets a breather. That was his specialty in college, and he appears to be translating that talent nicely to the NFL level.

As far as I can see, unless the Lions carry more back than I anticipate, the RB situation will shake out as follows:

1) Kevin Smith-Feature Back
2) Maurice Morris-Veteran backup
3) Aaron Brown- Speed Back/Slot/WR out of the backfield/KOR
4) Terrell Smith- Blocking Back
5) Jerome Felton- Blocking Back/3rd Down Back/Short Yardage Back

Morris and T. Smith are solid vets, Smith and Felton have the rookie jitters out of the way and are coming into their own, and Brown is a speedy young rook with lots of potential on offense and special teams. Who would you cut to sign someone like Duckett? Ervin, if he can get healthy, is a practice squad candidate (and possible future replacement for Morris if he progresses well). Cason is versatile, but he is a true Jack-of-all-trades, master of none. As has often been the case, I have a feeling he will be there to get the phone call once again if someone goes down with a serious injury. He is just going to be a victim of the numbers game — numbers that don’t have an opening or a glaring hole for another player. Remember, they already had to cut a potential speedster in Antoine Smith because they had so many good young backs.

RB is one of the few positions where the Lions have both talent and depth, and I like how Mayhew filled out the unit around Felton and 34K Smith. This coaching staff is showing that if a player has talent, they will do what they can to harness it to help win games.

Something tells me that with the Offensive Line looking better and starting to gel, and the great mix of backs on the roster, the Lions will have a strong running game this season. IF…

Rating: 9.1/10 (9 votes cast)
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7 Responses to “RB Battle Dust Begins to Settle”

  1. By Swive on Aug 26, 2009

    I’m with you all the way (well, up to where you think the OLine is coming together, anyway). We don’t need Duckett at this point – we need DTs and CBs. Brian was really off the mark – and, well, kind of lazy. A moment of reflection should have caused him not to write that column.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  2. By Swive on Aug 26, 2009

    Here’s another one for your eldest Pink Lion -

    What is Smokey the Bear’s middle name?


    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  3. By detfan1979 on Aug 26, 2009

    LOL – love it!

    As for the Oline, the starters didn’t look too bad, and both QB’s with the starting line got some decent time to throw. They got less push at Cleveland than Atlanta, but they are still improving over last year. (Granted, that doesn’t say a whole lot, but progress is progress)

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  4. By JJLions20 on Aug 26, 2009

    Well, BVO gets it wrong again. TJ was a big back but he was not a power back. He was not a goal line back. It’s why Atlanta let him go. It’s why Washington let him go. He also was not a great blocker. He ran east west more than north south. Sure he was big, strong, and fast, but his running style was not to hit the hole hard.

    The Lions have a big back that will hit the hole hard, block, play fullback, a big back that will hit the hole, and he is quite a bit younger then TJ. His name is Jerome Felton. He may not be as fast as TJ, but if you want speed you keep Aaron Brown.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  5. By chiefger139 on Aug 27, 2009

    Hope your right about Felton, I was dying to see him run the ball last year and coach Rod just plain wouldnt do it.The guy has great hands too.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  6. By Swive on Aug 27, 2009

    Well, I guess we will see when the season starts. How will they do at running the ball? And will the tackles actually keep the opposing team’s ends off our QBs? I hope you’re right, I want you to be right, but…

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  7. By detfan1979 on Aug 27, 2009

    That’s why this is the IFseason.. it is also why I end opinion sections/pieces with the word IF…

    IF they do keep coming together and improving, the Lions will run the ball well. IF they do not, they will run it OK because they have strong backs, but it will be another looong season.

    Here’s hoping for the good IF.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

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