Lions didn't sign Joique Bell as scout

The Detroit Lions made a very quiet move just after Christmas that now is starting to look like it could end up helping them when they play the New Orleans Saints in Saturday’s playoff games.

Heading into the last week of the regular season, the Lions signed running back Joique Bell off New Orleans’ practice squad.

“We coached Joique at the Senior Bowl a few years ago,’’ Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said in a conference call with the New Orleans media on Tuesday. “He is also from Wayne State, which is about five miles down the road. We are very familiar with him and had our eye on him during a couple different cut down dates. We never really had the roster spot to get him in. We had the roster spot (in late December)."

That brought up a question about if the Lions signed Bell to use him as a source of information on the Saints in the playoffs. It’s important to note the Lions did not know who they would be facing in the playoffs at the time they signed Bell. If they had won Sunday’s regular-season finale against Green Bay, the Lions would have been the No. 5 seed and would have ended up playing the New York Giants.

“It had nothing to do with playing New Orleans,’’ Schwartz said. “We had no idea we would be playing New Orleans. I think that stuff is overblown anyways. Everybody knows what plays the other team is going to run. There are no real secrets in the NFL. It’s a matter of when they are going to run them and what players they have that run them. He is a guy that we had an eye on for a little while and he is a good, strong runner. It was our experience with him from the Senior Bowl and plus the fact that he is a local kid. We would like to give him a chance to see if he can become a Lion for a long time.”