After a dismal 2012 season, the Detroit Lions knew changes had to be made. The Honolulu Blue and Silver finished the season with a very disappointing 4-12 record, after making the playoffs the previous season. Change was in the air. And change hat come.
The Lions needed to make a splash in free agency, and they achieved that splash with the signing of running back Reggie Bush to a 4 year deal worth $16 million. Bush brings big play ability to the backfield the Lions haven’t had, since the great Barry Sanders made defenders look silly in the 1990s.
Bush had a solid season last year with the Miami Dolphins, gaining 966 yards on the ground after an excellent 2011 season in which he amassed 1,086 yards rushing. Bush is also a threat as a receiver as he caught 78 passes for 588 yards and 3 touchdowns over the last two seasons in South Beach.
Bush isn’t an every down back, and he won’t power his way through defenders. But he does bring an option in the offense the Lions haven’t had. His presence will help ease the burden of Calvin Johnson, who became the focal point of opposing defenses. Megatron still had an unbelievable season and is by far the greatest weapon on the Lions offense. But one man cannot do it alone.
Bush should also relieve some pressure off quarterback Matthew Stafford. Too many times, Stafford was forced to throw the ball due to a lack of a running game. Bush should open up the playbook, so that Stafford can utilize play-action which forces the safeties in, and opens up the middle of the field for Megatron to do his thing.
There are question marks with Bush though. At times he can lose interest and fade away from games. This happened to him in New Orleans, where he wasn’t the main guy in the offense. He was caught up in the scandal that brought USC football down and Bush relinquished his Heisman trophy he won in 2005. However, it seems like those scandals are a thing of the past, and Bush is ready to become a major factor in Detroit’s offense.
The Lions did lose one key player in free agency. Defensive end Cliff Avril signed a 2 year $13 million dollar deal with the Seattle Seahawks. This will leave a hole on the Lions defensive line as Avril provided speed and a solid pass rush, on the edge. Avril led the Lions with 9.5 sacks in 2012, while lining up beside defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. His departure will mean Suh will face more double and triple teams, thus forcing another member of the Lions front four to step up his game. With the release of Kyle Vanden Bosch, the Lions suddenly have a hole in the front four. Expect Detroit to look for a defensive end come draft time. Florida State’s Bjoern Werner is expected to go very high in the draft, and the Lions have expressed interest in the German born end. However, with needs at cornerback and the offensive line as well, GM Martin Mayhew will have some very difficult decisions to make between now and the draft.
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