Tatum Bell had filled in nicely as the starting running back when Kevin Jones was injured, but now that Jones is back for good, Bell is headed to the bench.
Last Sunday, Jones took back his normal starting role and got the majority of the carries. He carried the ball 15 times for 76 yards and a touchdown, which is a solid effort since it was his first full game back. The interesting part about the running game for the Lions wasn't that Jones was back, but actually that another running back returned. That player I'm talking about is T.J. Duckett, who had 4 carries for 30 yards against Tampa Bay. Duckett looked great when he got the ball, meaning that he may get more touches in coming weeks.
With all of the talk about Jones and Duckett, one must ask where exactly Tatum Bell fits into this running back rotation. As of right now, he doesn't. Against Tampa Bay, Bell didn't see the field, something that you can imagine is upsetting to him. To make things worse, he may not even get a chance to see the field against Chicago as Aveion Cason was re-signed earlier this week. Cason will likely be on the active roster as he might return kicks and can act as the third running back behind Jones and Duckett.
You gotta feel for Bell in this situation as all of this is out of his control. When he was traded to Detroit in the offseason, at the least he knew he had a chance to start. The question obviously was for how long as Jones's recovery time was unknown at the time, so the wondering had to have been there from the start. Once the season rolled around and Jones stayed off the PUP list, Bell had to have known that it was only a matter of time until the starting job went back to its usual holder.
Even though Jones got the start last week for the first time over Bell, I still would've guessed that Bell would've had a few carries at least. Instead, he didn't step on the field during actual play, leading to his role being completely reduced and basically eliminated.
The one thing I worry about with this whole running back situation is how Bell reacts both publicly and privately. You can imagine he is fumed over the fact that he doesn't even get to play, and rightfully so, has probably complained about it, so the coaches have to handle this situation wisely. The last thing Detroit needs now is an angry player like this. Right now the chemistry seems to be better than ever before and one unnecessary conflict in the locker room could change that.