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Joique Bell: 'I'm going to rush for over 1,200 yards'

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Joique Bell missed the Detroit Lions' offseason program after knee and Achilles surgeries. The time sitting on the sidelines caused coaches to ponder what sort of shape the starting running back will be in when he eventually returns.

For his part, the 28-year-old running back believes he's ready for a career year.

"I'm going to rush for over 1,200 yards," Bell told MLive.com's Kyle Meinke. "That's the minimum. If I do less than that, I'll be surprised. I'll be disappointed.

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"Anything more than that, I wouldn't be surprised at all."

The Lions plan to emphasize the run in Jim Caldwell's second season and have worked to upgrade a faulty offensive line this offseason.

The 1,200-yard mark is something no running back has hit in Detroit this millennium. The last man wearing Honolulu Blue to break that barrier was Barry Sanders in 1998. 

"My first year here I rushed for a few hundred (yards)," Bell said. "Second year, close to (700). Then last year, almost 900. So this next year, I'm just going to jump the gun and say 1,200. That's the minimum."

After bouncing around the NFL, the former Wayne State Warrior ran for 414 yards in 2012, 650 in 2013 and 860 last season.

If only projecting a positive progression were so easy. Alas, a dip is more likely than a peak at this point for Bell.

Yes, the Lions want to run the ball more, but they also imported Ameer Abdullah who is likely to siphon carries as the season progresses and the Theo Riddick-hype trolley continues its offseason course.

Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi uses his running backs in the passing game a ton, so Bell earning a combined 1,000 yards from scrimmage isn't unfathomable, but we'd be shocked if he even came close to that number solely on the ground in 2015.

Players should be confident enough entering the season to project career years, but with the injuries and competition for snaps we don't see Bell's prediction flowering into reality.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast welcomes back Colleen Wolfe to discuss non-Super Bowl contenders, and an all-new 'Orr You Kidding Me.' Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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