Bears Week: Lions Need To Establish The Run

Everyone expects the Detroit Lions offense to be explosive, scoring points in bunches with long bombs exploding down the sidelines to speedy wide receivers Charles Rogers and Roy Williams. But the key isn't throwing downfield, says Lions' insider Mike Fowler.

(ALLEN PARK) - Everyone expects the Detroit Lions offense to be explosive, scoring points in bunches with long bombs exploding down the sidelines to speedy wide receivers Charles Rogers and Roy Williams.

But the key for the Lions to win on the road for the first time in four years is to run the ball. Detroit has been able to throw the ball down the field for the last three years, but what do they have to show for it?

It's no coincidence that the Lions road failures coincide with the lack of a real running game. For the first time Detroit has a real threat in its backfield in rookie running back Kevin Jones. Jones possess both the speed and the will to run it up in between the tackles to be a real force in Detroit's west coast offense.

Despite what some may think, the west coast offense is a good offense for a running back. Because of its ability to put defenses on their heels with quick short passes, it often yield holes for a back with speed to run through some of the same openings.

Look for the Lions to get Jones 20 plus carries in the this game and don't be shocked if Detroit elects to try to establish the run early on rather than throw the ball all over the field.

The Bears' defense appears to be stronger than it really is because of the presence of middle linebacker Brian Urlacher. Urlacher is one of the NFL poster boys, but Jones isn't likely to be deterred by Urlacher's presence. The rookie relished the opportunity to go up against Baltimore Ravens superstar Ray Lewis. In his few carries on the night, Jones elected to go right at Lewis, initally catching the Baltimore star off guard running through him on one play before Lewis pounded Jones two plays later.

But Jones gave as good as he got and served notice that he is intent on as he says, "cracking some heads." His tough running style, combined with the lead blocking of Detroit's right side featuring Damien Woody and Stockar McDougle, should help Detroit establish the line of scrimmage, opening up the passing game for quarterback Joey Harrington and Co.

Really, Detroit has no choice but to continue to run the ball even if they have little success early on. Detroit knows being one-dimensional leads to losses. They are determined that things are going to be different this time.

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