DETROIT (97.1 The Ticket) The Lions’ Mikel Leshoure is “on his way,” according to coach Jim Schwartz, who discussed his return Tuesday morning with 97.1 The Ticket hosts Doug Karsch and Scott Anderson.
“He did a good job of staying with it when he was suspended. He wasn’t allowed to be at our games or at our practices, but he could still work out in our facility, go to our team meetings. We saw him around last week,” Schwartz said. “He’s worked really hard to be ready when his number is called.
“We have been waiting a long time to call his number. We know he’ll be ready. He didn’t have a great rushing average in the preseason in limited carries. The one thing is he always made the first guy miss or run through the first guy. Very rarely the first guy got him down. We look forward to getting him back as a key part of our offense.”
So, will he take the field as soon as he’s reactivated? “If he’s active — We didn’t activate him to be inactive,” Schwartz said, adding, “He’s an important part of our plan not just for this game but for the whole season.”
Leshoure was suspended for two games after he made headlines in the off-season for two arrests in one month on marijuana-related charges.
Back on the field, what exactly does he bring to the offense?
“He’s a multiple dimensional runner,” Schwartz said. “He’s very strong, he’s got good instincts, he’s good in the pass and run game. He just knows how to get yards — We saw it in college and we saw it from him in limited exposure here. I think he can be a very key part of our offense.
“We need to run the ball with efficiency. The first week we didn’t run it a ton of times, I think 18 times, but we were very efficient in our run game, 4.6 or 4.8 a carry or whatever it was. This week we ran it a lot more and we needed to be committed to it because their defense was designed to take the pass away. But we didn’t run it anywhere near as efficient. We were down in the 30s. Mikel is a good runner who can get yards and move chains.”
Beyond Leshoure, rookie cornerback Bill Bentley made news when he left the game early Sept. 10 due to a possible concussion. Schwartz weighed in on his prognosis — and the overall concussion situation in the NFL.
“He’s improved, we’ll get him back on the practice field and see where he goes from there,” Schwartz said. “He is improved. I think you’ve seen across the league, Darrell Revis missed a game with a concussion, Bentley missed a game with a concussion. I think that were witnessing the NFL’s increased awareness of concussions and how to recover from them and all those different things. It was disappointing we lost him last week but it if that helps him (get) better over the course of the season or over the course of his careers then we are on the right track.”