Towards the end of last week, speculation surrounding a possible trade involving Tatum Bell escalated to him wanting a trade. ESPN's John Clayton reported that Bell asked for a trade after finding out that Kevin Jones would become the starter coming out of the bye week. Bell has already seen less playing time as of late, and this appeared to be the final straw for the running back. However, just days after Clayton's report came out, Tatum Bell denied that he actually asked for a trade, but did say that the subject was discussed.
"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."
The trade deadline is tomorrow, and the Lions have no interest in trading Bell. Although there probably would be a few teams interested in acquiring Bell due to various circumstances, there is no guarantee that Jones will be 100% effective whenever he makes a full return. On a similar note, there is also no guarantee that Jones will be fully healthy either, meaning Bell will be a great insurance policy in both aspects.
One thing that does worry me as the season progresses is the possibility that Tatum Bell could become a problem within the locker room. There already appears to be some resentment from Bell due to the fact that his playing time was limited against Washington, and it is known that it could be even more limited in the future. Say Kevin Jones returns completely healthy and plays well. What will that mean for Bell?
Playing time between Jones and Bell will be important to keep both players happy, but something else that I think could tick Bell off even more is the style of offense the Lions are running. When Tatum Bell was traded, I imagine coming to a team with an offense that has the mentality of "pass first, run second" wasn't his first choice. In reality, it probably wasn't in his top 10 choices for obvious reasons. A running back wants to be involved. By that, I mean he wants carries. In the Mike Martz offense, depending on the mood he is in, a running back could help set up the pass or it could be ignored altogether.
Regardless of what happens the rest of the season, one thing that Rod Marinelli will have to do is keep Tatum Bell from becoming a problem or a cancer in the locker room. The reason Bell even is in Detroit in the first place is because someone like that was traded to Denver, so preventing another situation like that will be important.