Lions notebook: Bell not on trading block

After speculation that perhaps they would deal disgruntled running back Tatum Bell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it seems the Detroit Lions are content with their current backfield situation -- but that didn't stop Bell from sounding off on Detroit's offensive scheme. Much more inside.

After speculation that perhaps they would deal disgruntled running back Tatum Bell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it seems the Detroit Lions are content with their current backfield situation.

The Lions never put Bell on the trading block, despite a bottle-neck situation at the position involving returning starter Kevin Jones. Instead, the Lions will maintain the status quo.

Bell said earlier this week that his trade demand was overblown, but didn't back down with regard to his frustration regarding the team's stagnant, unproductive rushing attack.

He also said he wasn't alone with his concerns.

"We run the ball all throughout the week, and we get in games, for some reason, we don't run it," Bell said. "So like I said, it's frustrating for all the backs, not just me. (Kevin Jones), we feel the same way. The line. Everybody. But coach calls the plays. We've just got to execute the plays."

Bell spent his first three NFL seasons with Denver, a running team. He rushed for 1,025 yards last season. Then the Lions traded for him in the offseason, at least in part because they needed insurance due to Jones' foot injury.

With Martz as the team's coordinator, carries are few and bar between.

"In Denver, it was more balanced, and Martz's style is just basically passing first to set up the run," Bell said. "Out in Denver it was vice versa. So you knew going into a game you were going to at least get 25 touches. The backs at least all together were at least going to get 25, 30 touches. But going into a game out here, you never know how many carries you're going to get as a back. It's frustrating, man."

Bell had 15 carries for 87 yards in the opener Sept. 9 at Oakland. He has had 29 carries for 95 yards in the four games since.

In the Lions' last game, a 34-3 loss Oct. 7 at Washington, Bell had four carries for 15 yards in the first half. He didn't touch the ball in the second half, as Jones had 11 carries for 48 yards and two catches for 17 yards.

Bell said he was "a little disappointed." He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the season.

"It's frustrating being a contract year and stuff like that," Bell said. "You want to put a show on."

Asked if he or his agent had asked for a trade, as ESPN reported Friday, Bell said: "I mean, you know, we brought it up. But it wasn't really just demanding a trade or nothing like that. The media blew it up. Well, ESPN blew it up. So I'm here. I'm going to be helping the team, and that's all the matters."

Tampa Bay, which seemed as a likely destination, acquired Kansas City's Michael Bennett to alleviate its concerns.

Asked if the ideal situation would be somewhere else where he was the guy, Bell said: "I feel like I'm still the guy. I'm just not getting as many carries as I hoped to get."

Bell said he was approaching practice as if he were the starter, because no one had said anything otherwise. But Jones' health continues to improve, and T.J. Duckett appears ready to return from a high ankle sprain. Head coach Rod Marinelli was non-committal about the rotation for Sunday's game against Tampa Bay.

"We'll probably let that work out a little bit during the week," Marinelli said.

NOTES, QUOTES

  • The Lions hung a big, blue banner in their field house listing their 2007 captains -- QB Jon Kitna, C Dominic Raiola, DE Cory Redding, LB Ernie Sims and K Jason Hanson. "It's just something I wanted to start this year," Marinelli said. "Each year we'll have our captains up. Recognizing them is a powerful thing." Will the banners ring around the indoor practice field? "I think so, yeah," Marinelli said. "I don't know if I'll live that long."
  • Freezing kickers is en vogue around the NFL, but Marinelli might not follow the trend if given the opportunity. "Here's the thing: I'm a guy who always looks at the flip side of everything," Marinelli said. "The first guy who calls timeout and (the kicker) misses it and then makes the second one, bad shape. It's part of the job. You've got to be smart with it. Know the kind of kicker, how many times he's kicked, how many times he's kicked off, the fatigue of the leg. Know what his length is, how far he can hit it from. I don't know if you want to freeze him at a 53-yarder."
  • WR Calvin Johnson, who has had a sore lower back, "worked pretty good" Monday, coach Rod Marinelli said.
  • LB Alex Lewis, who has had a hamstring injury, "ran around a little bit" Monday, coach Rod Marinelli said.
  • CB Keith Smith, who has an ankle injury, did not practice Monday. His status is uncertain.
  • RT Jonathan Scott said he had not been told anything about replacing George Foster as the starter.
  • WR Devale Ellis, on the physically unable to perform list with a knee injury, probably will end up on injured reserve, coach Rod Marinelli said.

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