Detroit Lions Depth at RB is a Good Problem

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George Winn was signed by the Detroit Lions in July, and was not expected to really amount to much other than a training camp body. However, after an impressive training camp and preseason performance, some may be wondering how far up the depth charts Winn can climb. The running back from Southfield, Michigan, said that it was an honor to put on a show in front of his home town.

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The one dismal spot in George Winn’s performance was that he lost a fumble. That is something that the Detroit Lions want no part of, especially after giving up 15 fumbles in 2013. Detroit’s 15 fumbles in 2013 led the NFL, and their 34 giveaways was second only to the New York Giants. Nevertheless, coach Jim Caldwell praised Winn’s performance, and so did a lot of sports writers in the Detroit area. He clearly out performed the Lions’ 3rd and 5th options at running back, Mikel LeShoure and Steven Miller.

Winn has a lot of work to do if he is going to make the Lions final 53-man roster, but the news out of training camp is that Winn can put a bruising on defenders, too. George Winn is impressing his coaches and his teammates with his work ethic, and with his powerful runs. Saturday night against Cleveland was a great performance by Winn, and if he continues to play at this level then he will make the Detroit Lions final roster.

So, where does that leave players like Steven Miller and Mikel LeShoure? Steven Miller may be on the outside looking in after his performance against Cleveland. Although Miller did have a few nice runs, he also made a few terrible decisions. His decision making in the return game was less than stellar, and Miller dropped at least one pass that hit him right in his hands. The Lions also led the NFL in drops by receivers, and in drop percentage. If Steven Miller wants to make the Detroit Lions roster, then he will need to work on his hands and his decision making.

Mikel LeShoure battled a horrific Achilles tendon injury in his rookie season, and still has yet to prove that he is the same explosive running back that he was in college. LeShoure also was demoted in 2013 and catching the fumble bug, and spent much of 2013 inactive. Mikel LeShoure can do great things on the ground. In 2012, he rushed for 798 yards and kept a 3.7 yard average.  For Mikel LeShoure, making this talented Detroit Lions roster depends on how well he will adapt to offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi’s short yardage offense.

Theo Riddick is listed at the Detroit Lions 4th option at running back, but do not let that fool you. Riddick is as close to a lock on the Lions roster as anyone. Not much ill can be said about Theo Riddick, other than he may be a bit inexperienced. He has great hands out of the backfield, and he also has great ball handling skills while running the ball. Riddick will get more touches this year, even though he is listed as the teams 4th option at running back. Backup Detroit Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky went on the record to say that Theo Riddick will have a Darren Sproles type of role within the Lions’ offense.

There is no question that the Detroit Lions have a lot of talent at the running back position. In fact, some feel that it is the Lions’ most talented position. The question for the Detroit Lions running back position battle will be who makes the 53-man roster, and who shows that they can help the Lions get some wins now.


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Posted by Travis Newville
Freelance editor/writer. Currently writing poetry, song lyrics, children's book, and SEO web content. Content Editor and MMA Analyst for Detroit Sports Nation.