Running back won't give in to Bell, says he expects to play season opener in Oakland.
Terry Foster and Krysten Oliphant / The Detroit News
ALLEN PARK -- Injured Lions running back Kevin Jones plans on being the starter Sept. 9 in the season opener at Oakland.
He took a step toward his goal by catching passes Thursday for the first time since injuring his left foot late last season.
Strength and conditioning coach Malcolm Blacken fired passes to Jones, who caught balls and made cuts against imaginary defenders.
"It was a good day," a smiling Jones said. "I felt good. The bottom line is, it was feeling better so I said, 'Let's do some reps.' We are going day by day."
Jones spends most of his time running sprints, riding a stationary bike and going through rehabilitation while teammates prepare for Thursday's exhibition opener against the Bengals at Ford Field. Jones underwent surgery shortly after injuring his foot Dec. 10 against Minnesota.
Jones was irked by comments from Tatum Bell, who said he expects to be the starter and go-to back for the Lions.
"I have to deal with competing for a job against him as a competitor," Jones said. "But when he says, 'It is mine,' that is when I have a problem. If I was 100 percent, it would not be a question. My goal is to come back and it (starting) won't be an issue. I am the better back and I will be the starter."
Jones was drafted in the first round in 2004, but has missed eight games in three years because of injuries. His best season was his rookie season, when he rushed for 1,133 yards. But he has run for 1,353 yards since. The Lions traded for Bell in the offseason as insurance.
Bell ran for 1,025 yards for the Broncos last season.
Jones said his relationship with Bell is cordial, but he is ready to fight for his job.
"If I weren't injured, he wouldn't even be here," Jones said.
Fantasy Football: "Luck is where preparation meets opportunity"
There isn't much info coming out of Lyins headquarters at Allen Park. They tend to pump-up players to help down play other's disappointments. In this case all the word from Lyins training camps is how much Martz loves Bell's speed and how he is running crips passing routes. KJ, meanwhile, is running stronger than expected and making cuts nicely. KJ says he expects to be ready by opening day, but nobody from the Lyins staff is saying anything about KJ's progress/prospects of playing opening day.
The Lyins tend not to be shy about reporting anything that can be construded as good news so I don't know how much KJ will figure into their O early in his return, whenever that may be. The facts are that Bell doesn't catch as well as KJ, and KJ doesn't have near the speed that Bell has. I think that Bell's speed is something crucial in the Martz O, and that could keep KJ from regaining a feature back role.
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I'm expecting that Bell will open up the season as the starter but that Jones will eventually re-take that role, or at least a very large split of the carries.
Honestly, with the way Kevin Jones and Tatum Bell are oft injured I'm seriously thinking about taking a late round flier on TJ Duckett in my 14 team league. There's a decent possibility of both backs being injured at some point in the season.
My guess is that we'll start off with a 75/25 split between Bell and Duckett and then move to a 50/50 or 60/40, with Duckett handling the goal-line, assuming that Jones returns 100% .
Two Possibilities: It's possible that at, with or without Jones being healthy, Duckett could get some reps at FB since we just released Bryson. Also, it's possible that we could use a two-back system (as in, two backs on the field at once) because outside of the "big three" RBs we have Brian Calhoun, who is a capable receiver assuming he makes the final squad.
and then there is the possibility we dare not speak of!
Lions RB Jones not out first six games ... yet Teams says player is progressing August 11, 2007
BY NICHOLAS J. COTSONIKA
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER
The Lions say they have not decided to keep running back Kevin Jones on the physically unable to perform list because of his foot injury -- at least not yet.
A report published Friday and repeated on the radio said Jones would miss the Lions' first six regular-season games.
"That is absolutely untrue," Lions spokesman Bill Keenist said Friday. "That's premature. No decision has been made. He continues to rehab and make good progress."
The published report went on to say the Lions had not made an official decision but were planning to keep Jones on the PUP list.
If the Lions keep Jones on the PUP list, he would miss the first six weeks of the regular season. Then the Lions would have a three-week window to put him on the active roster or injured reserve.
It is a strong possibility that Jones will stay on the PUP list. He is recovering from a serious foot injury and surgery. He said Tuesday the foot was not 100% stable yet, and he still needs to get into game shape. The Lions have planned all along for the possibility Jones will not be ready, acquiring Tatum Bell and T. J. Duckett in the off-season.
But Jones also said Tuesday he still hoped to return for the regular-season opener Sept. 9 at Oakland. He said he had been running well and doing some cutting, and he wouldn't need to play in any exhibitions. He also said he was the "better back" and would reclaim his starting spot from Bell when healthy.
doctorlw wrote:Kevin Jones has been a perennial "sleeper" pick that has been a bust each time. Finally his draft status matches up with where he belongs. If you are forced to take a Lions RB, take a flyer on Tatum.
Perennial sleeper pick? Please. He put up 1100+ rushing yards and 6 TDs as a rookie in '04. Then he busted in '05. In '06, he was easily a top 10 RB until his injury. Easily top 5 in a PPR league.
When was he the sleeper and busted? In his rookie year, he was a sleeper and did great. In his second year, he was a late 1st/early 2nd rd pick and busted. In '06, he was a sleeper and did great until getting injured. So perenially he's a sleeper that bust? Nice try. Do an ounce of research next time.