Detroit Lions are a Running Back Short of Having “Triplets”

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bill-swift - August 9, 2012

Triplets. Say that word around most guys and watch them run really far away really fast. However, when the term is used to describe the offensive weaponry of a guy's favorite football team watch him beam with pride.

Football teams love to have triplets; that means they have a quarterback, running back, and wide receiver that scares the daylights out of opposing defenses. When healthy, Detroit Lions quarterback Matt Stafford has proven to be very dangerous. Calvin Johnson is an absolute beast; easily one of if not the best wide receiver in the NFL today.

Now if only the team had a running back...

The only thing missing for the Lions last season was a running game, and it is not looking good for them this season either. Once again the issue appears to be injuries.

Jahvid Best was the 2010 first round pick of the Lions. He was expected to be the running back of the future even though he already had an injury history. His final season in college was cut short after eight games after receiving a nasty concussion. He looked good in action as a rookie, but was limited due to a turf toe injury. After a promising start to 2011 he was eventually placed on the IR due to post concussion symptoms.

Here it is 10 months later, and he has still not been cleared for contact.

Mikel Leshoure averaged 126 yards a game his final year in college so the Lions made him a second round pick in the '11 draft; likely hedging their bets in case the injury issues continued with Best. Leshoure ended up going down with a ruptured Achilles tendon, and the Lions never got to use him. He's been limited again in training camp, this time because of a hamstring injury. Plus, he has a two game suspension to serve as well.

That left the team's third round pick from the '08 draft, Kevin Smith, to pick up the ball last season after the team had cut him earlier in the year. His best year was his rookie year when he ran for 976 yards and 8 TDs, but his career went downhill after that due to injuries (hence the team letting him go). Even after they brought him back last season he ended up losing time to injuries yet again.

When healthy he ran well, but he can't seem to stay healthy. If Smith should get hurt again the Lions would be forced to hope that Stefan LoganKeiland Williams, or Joique Bell can pick up the slack.

Defenses will be doing everything possible to take Calvin Johnson out of the game. If the rest of the wide receiver corp is not able to pick up the slack, and the running game remains stagnant the Lions may find their season coming up short yet again.

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