Outgoing Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan believes running back Joique Bell is capable of being a starting running back in the NFL according to Kyle Meinke of MLive.com.
Bell,who is scheduled to be a restricted free agent this offseason, was a godsend for the Lions this past season, filling in admirably whenever star Reggie Bush was injured and’or benched for fumbling.
“I have no question he could start,” said Linehan, who was fired along with Jim Schwartz two weeks ago. “He’s a guy that can handle a pretty heavy load. … There’s no question he can do it.” The Lions are unlikely to let Bell walk this offseason, likely slapping him with a first- or second-round tender.
Bell certainly does not have the pedigree of Bush-no USC, no Heisman trophy, no Kim Kardashian-but he also doesn’t have the miles of wear and tear on his legs.
At age 27 he has only 248 career carries as opposed to Bush’s 1,190 and may just be entering his prime. It would not be surprising if Bell continues to eat into Bush’s playing time even with a brand new coaching staff.
Not bad for a guy who played his college ball at Wayne State and changed NFL teams six times in 15 months before finally finding a home in Detroit in 2012.