Punch Drunk Wonderland

Reggie Bush signing with the Detroit Lions is a great fit

Reggie Bush, Detroit LionsOn day 2 of the 2013 NFL league year, Reggie Bush made a big move by signing with the Detroit Lions. The team is giving him the chance to be the feature back, and this is just the kind of situation Bush needs to be in. This should be a good fit for the Lions and for him.

The Lions have been a pass happy team over the last several years, and they haven’t had much success in the run game. Obviously, with Calvin Johnson on your team there’s certainly good reason to throw often. However, being stuck in one dimension has been a struggle for them. In 2012 Detroit ran 740 passing plays to only 391 running plays. They were passing the ball 65% of the time, had the 8th fewest run attempts in the league, and the 10th fewest rush yards per game. They also had the fewest run plays of 20+ yards in the NFL in 2012. They just couldn’t get much going on the ground.

For the last several years the Lions have been relying on Megatron and the passing game while shuffling around a squad of running backs that just weren’t getting the job done. There seemed to be real potential when they drafted Jahvid Best with the 30th overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft. Unfortunately, after a decent 2010 season Best was sidelined with a concussion in pre-season the following year. He never recovered and now is out of the NFL. During the span of time while Best jumped on and off injured reserve the team picked up players like Kevin Smith and  Mikel Leshoure to bridge the rushing gap, but they never really got things going on the ground. Leshoure has had his play limited after tearing his achilles in pre-season practice his 2011 rookie year, and then missing time due to suspension in 2012. He showed some potential last season, but he wasn’t providing the kind of boost in the run game that the team needed. A fresh start with a proven talent is probably the best option for Detroit at this point.

I previously mentioned that Reggie Bush was the top option at running back in free agency this year. Over the last two years in Miami Bush put up 2,072 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on a team that struggled to produce offensively. The key for any team looking to land Bush would be in how they plan to use him. He’s a versatile back that is best suited where he can use his ability to make his own holes, move in space, and shine as a receiver out of the backfield. He isn’t a between-the-tackles kind of runner, but he certainly still has big game potential. Detroit is a perfect landing place for him because they are a team that will use him the way he should be used. While the Lions didn’t have much luck on the ground, they did use their backs as receivers often in 2012. Mikel Leshoure finished the season with 34 receptions for 214 yards and Joique Bell had 52 receptions for 485 yards. There is great potential for Bush to step in and drastically improve on those numbers as well as provide a spark in the run game. Look for Bush to have great receiving numbers out of the backfield in 2013.

Fantasy Focus

From a fantasy perspective, Reggie Bush was a serviceable running back in 2012. He finished the season as the 14th highest scoring RB with 171.8 total fantasy points. The big issue with him was that he was streaky.  He would score 10 points one week, 30 the next, and then go into the doldrums for single digits for several weeks at a time. His numbers weren’t bad considering he was severely underutilized in the passing game in Miami, and he didn’t see much use in goal line situations.

The Lions will likely have him more involved in the offense, and he should see both receiving opportunities and more touches in scoring positions. He’ll certainly be spelled by Leshoure and/or Bell, but it sounds like he will be the feature back. I expect Bush to be a top 10 fantasy running back in 2013.


K. Smelser About K. Smelser
Kelly Smelser is Owner/Senior Writer for Punch Drunk Wonderland and PDFantasy Sports. Architect of the PDW fantasy football world and general spinster of NFL and Fantasy Football news and analysis. Long walks on the beach, sunsets, and other such niceties are also fine...