Leshoure injury has Lions stuck in middle

Rushing up the middle was an uphill battle for the Detroit Lions in 2010 and running back Mikel Leshoure was drafted in the second round to help improve just that. Leshoure suffered a torn Achilles tendon in practice Monday and will miss the 2011 season. The Lions will now look to a healthy Jahvid Best and veteran Maurice Morris to improve a ground game that ranked in the bottom quarter of the league when running up the middle.

Multiple injuries to Best’s toes slowed him for much of his rookie season. Best suffered the first injury Week 3, one week after he gained 232 total yards and scored three times against the Philadelphia Eagles. Best’s touches per game dropped from 18 to 14.6 per game after the injury and his yards per touch fell from 5.7 to 4.2. All but one of Best’s six touchdowns were scored in the first two weeks.

Detroit Lions Rushing Last Season
Up the Middle

With Leshoure out for the season, Detroit’s biggest running back is Maurice Morris. Morris posted a respectable average of 4.1 yards per rush up the middle last season but doesn’t offer much else. Rushing to the outside is not Morris’ strong suit and even running toward the tackles has been a struggle. Morris averaged just 2.4 yards per rush when running toward the tackles in 2010. Chester Taylor was the only player with at least 20 rushes in those directions to have a lower average (2.1).