Via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said Tuesday that he envisions his top two running backs, Reggie Bush and Joique Bell , "kind of having a split role" this season.
Some of you might be wondering why this is news. Didn't Bush and Bell pretty much split carries last season? Kind of, yeah. Bush touched the ball 277 times in 14 games; Bell had 219 touches in 16 games. But Lombardi's words hint at more of a 50-50 split between the two players. When Bush was healthy last season, there was no doubt that he was the Lions' lead back. With Bell signing a three-year contract last month that handed him $4.3 million guaranteed, Detroit understandably wants to see more from him to get the highest return on their investment as possible.
Obviously, an even RB committee caps the value of both players, but Bush is the real loser here as he would stand to lose playing time while Bell would gain. Bell racked up almost 1,200 yards and scored eight times despite his limited workload in 2013. It's reasonable to think he can improve on those numbers. Meanwhile, don't pay too much Reggie's name value this summer.