Lions liking their jumbo RB package

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The clunker in Cleveland had a few bright spots -- at least for Lions coaches.

Coach Jim Schwartz and others were pleased with a power-run package featuring FBs Terrelle Smith and Jerome Felton that gave the Browns trouble, Carlos Monarrez reports at

The success of the big boys against the Browns' 3-4 defense bodes well for the regular season, as the Lions play seven teams that primarily run a 3-4, Monarrez writes:

"I think it's going to be productive package for us," coach Jim Schwartz said Tuesday.

Schwartz explained that the gaps in a 3-4 defense push defenders to the side, forcing them to tackle at an angle.

"And when guys are making side tackles, you need north-south running backs that can run through arm tackles, real strong guys like that," he said. "And I think that package fits us real well in that circumstance.

"We really haven't broken it out in any short-yardage situations, but it's available to use there. We could use it in a lot of different plays: goal-line, short-yardage and also some attitude-type plays."

But Brian VanOchten at apparently sees it differently. He calls a short-yardage back "a glaring need" for the Lions, and suggests they re-sign former Lion and Michigan Stater T.J. Duckett, who was just cut by the Seahawks.

My take? It's difficult to assess the Lions' running game in its totality because Maurice Morris, who will play a major role behind emerging Kevin Smith, has been injured. Anything the running game can do to take pressure off "asked to do everything" WR Calvin Johnson -- and maybe a rookie starting QB, Matthew Stafford -- is a big, big plus.

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