NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Detroit Lions worked out free-agent RB Mike Gillislee on Thursday.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 15, 2019
Gillislee, now 28, is a veteran player with ties to head coach Matt Patricia’s time with the New England Patriots. Mike Gillislee was released by the Patriots in 2018 and signed with the New Orleans Saints. He played in four games for the Saints last season.
Gillislee was released by the Saints after Mark Ingram returned from suspension and didn’t catch on with another team for the rest of the season. Because Gillislee did not end the 2018 season on any roster, the running back is free to be signed before the opening of regular free agency in March. He finished the 2018 season with 16 carries and 43 rushing yards.
Originally drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Gillislee has totaled 274 carries, 1,291 rushing yards, and 16 rushing touchdowns in his NFL career (he did not play in 2014 and was placed on injured reserve). Gillislee had his best season in 2016 as a member of the Buffalo Bills, rushing for 5.6 yards per carry and scoring eight TDs according to NFL.com.
The Lions are likely searching for a large between-the-tackles back to pair with Kerryon Johnson. LeGarrette Blount was mostly ineffective in his one season in Detroit and is set to become a free agent.
The Lions did not immediately sign Gillislee, it seems they were simply getting a look at a potential low-cost depth option. Even if the Lions come to terms with Mike Gillislee, there is no guarantee the running back will make the 53 man roster to the start of the season.
OC Darrell Bevell unsure how 2019 Detroit Lions’ offense will look
There is no question about it, for the Detroit Lions to take a step forward in 2019, they absolutely had to get a new voice in the offensive room. That’s exactly what the team did by announcing Jim Bob Cooter would no longer be the offensive coordinator moving forward. Instead, head coach Matt Patricia elected to bring in veteran OC, Darrell Bevell lead Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense.
As soon as the hire was made, plenty of experts hopped on social media and their blogs to point out the obvious. Bevell is a run-first OC.
Now, when looking back at what Bevell has done in his career as a play caller, it is clear he likes to establish a solid rushing attack but he has also shown that he is smart enough to play to the strengths of his team.
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