Welcome to Tuesday 10, where every Tuesday over the summer, we'll count down 10 Detroit Lions who are vital to the team's success in 2013. Today, we hit the second spot by analyzing a free agent addition who'll be counted on to boost the offense statistically given his dual role.
When the Detroit Lions signed Reggie Bush in March, excitement was high, given the team has lacked a high profile running back since Barry Sanders retired and something was needed to take the pressure off wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
Bush enters Detroit quietly as one of the most productive backs in the league. With a bad Miami Dolphins team in 2012, he excelled in a dual role, putting up 1,570 total yards with eight touchdowns. In Detroit, the Lions figure Bush can replicate or even exceed those numbers given the massive shadow Johnson always casts offensively. Bush hasn't yet played with a player like him, meaning the combo could do big things together.
Let's face it, the Lions need that offensive statistical boost in a bad way for Johnson. Matthew Stafford set a record for most pass attempts in a season last year, which is a dubious honor for a quarterback. The thinking is, Stafford will be able to rely on Bush a bit more in the running game, opening things up down field for Johnson, Nate Burleson, Ryan Broyles and company. Or, if the receivers all manage to remain inconsistent, Bush himself can pick them up in that role catching passes out of the backfield, as well.
Thus far in the preseason, Bush's abilities as a receiver have been on display. Against New England he turned a broken play into a massive gain, and has shown the ability to scoot free out of the backfield, turning short looking gains into first downs and extending longer gains even further. Detroit has lacked that element at running back for quite some time, and has seen it in the preseason even without the benefit of extended play from Johnson, which is good news.
As a result, when all the starters play full time, Bush's overall impact should be incredible. If teams decide to double team Johnson, Bush will be there to collect the extra yardage underneath and help the offense remain consistent. The signing has the chance to be the best, most impactful move the Lions have made on the open market recently. After all, it's not everyday teams can add a phenomenal talent which comes with Super Bowl experience.
Bush brings all that and more to the table for 2013, making him perhaps the most valuable Lion to watch. Should Detroit get as big a year as expected out of their shiny new free agent toy, the sky could be the limit for the Lions' offense. Provided the defense improves at all, this particular move could help the team most in their quest for playoff credibility.
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