Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE
The Detroit Lions have had their issues, but Jim Schwartz called their run game in 2012 as consistent and productive as he's seen since taking over as head coach.
The Detroit Lions are 4-4 on the season, and though they're not where they wanted to be at this point, they have a lot of excuses they could make. They've had injuries, and have had a rather … weird running game, given the status of some of their players. Jahvid Best still hasn't returned from a concussion suffered last season and his future is still in question, while Mikel Leshoure missed some time because of a suspension.
Still, even with those issues, the Lions running game is performing very well. Leshour has 375 yards on the season, while Joique Bell is rushing for a 4.4 yards-per-carry average, with 189 yards off of 43 attempts.
Jim Schwartz called it as consistent and productive a rushing attack he's had since he took over as head coach, as noted by MLive.com. Rookie offensive tackle Riley Reiff, who comes in as the extra blocker often, was also noted as a reason for success:
"He's given our run game an incredible boost," Lions coach Jim Schwartz. "The offensive line has blocked very well, and he's a big part of that. Our tight ends blocked very well in this game, and our running backs ran well. I think we've seen probably the most consistent and most productive run game since I've been here.
The Lions spent a first-round pick on Reiff, but he hasn't earned a starting job just yet. Still, his contributions in the running game have been instrumental in the Lions being an effective team this season, given the relative regression they've experienced in the passing game.
Leshoure had three touchdowns in Detroit's win over Jacksonville on Sunday.