Could We See Joique Bell In Honolulu Blue Again?
Joique Bell’s workout Tuesday was met with a lot of mixed emotions. Ameer Abdullah will miss at least the next eight weeks after being placed on IR on Wednesday, making it seem that Bell could be getting his old jersey out of the closet.
Even before the Abdullah news hit, Detroit Lions fans were already picking sides on a potential reunion with Joique. On one side, many were nostalgic to see the former fan favorite take the field again, while others simply assuming that he was washed up and useless based on his 2015 performance. Let’s take a look at some of the questions that arose and actually take the time to deliver more than just a hot take based on a tweet.
Why are the Lions looking at another running back anyway?
Don’t we have plenty of backs on the roster? Why not just roll with the current backfield? Well, a couple of reasons. Theo Riddick has looked much improved as a runner but with only a 7th round rookie and Zach Zenner to back him up, this backfield is less than ideal. I’ve liked what Zenner showed last year and Dwayne Washington has had flashes but it was easy to see that the run game was not as effective without Abdullah. It makes absolute sense for the Lions to find a little more help.
But another power back?
Yes, Joique Bell is more of a power running back that does his best work in short yardage. However, let’s not forget that he was considered an above average receiving back as recently as 2014.
If the first two weeks have taught us anything, it’s that Jim Bob Cooter likes any back on the field to be able to haul in receptions and make a break for it. While he’s nowhere near as lethal as Abdullah or Riddick after the catch, Joique Bell is at least effective and was still able to break off more than just five to six yard runs from time to time.
Lastly, Joique Bell had some time with Jim Bob Cooter in the early stages of this offense and would likely be able to pick up the new playbook better than the other backs on the market.
Can Joique Bell even play anymore?
Obviously, none of us were at the workout so time will tell on this one. If the Lions do end up signing him, it means they believe he can at least contribute but it is concerning that no other team took a chance on him during the off-season.
After 2014, most of us believed that Joique Bell could be a thousand-yard rusher if the line could improve. Unfortunately, the run blocking was even worse in 2015 and a vastly more talented back like Abdullah was having trouble getting more than three yards at a time. Couple that with coming off two off-season surgeries and you’re looking at an ineffective Joique Bell. However, we can all agree that Abdullah’s second half of the season was much improved over the debacle that was starting 1-7 last year. It’s also worth noting that the Lions wanted to retain Joique Bell for 2016 at a reduced salary but Bell wanted to test the market which didn’t work out for anyone.
So, how should you feel?
Feel free to be completely unfazed by this news. There’s no reason to react to either extreme. It’s unlikely that Joique Bell will come in and tear through opposing defenses after failing to be signed in the off-season but it’s also unfair to think he’ll drag down the running game that will definitely need help without Abdullah. In other words, hang tight until further notice.