LANDOVER, Md. -- It may be taking a chance in the short term, perhaps even pushing Detroit to under .500 before the end of the season’s first month if it loses Sunday, but what the Lions are doing by sitting Reggie Bush against Washington is the smart thing.
The logic is simple. If he isn’t fully healthy yet, if there is any chance a ding on the left knee could lead to a major issue with it, you don’t play Bush against the Redskins. You sit him, which is what the Lions are doing, and you make sure he is fully healthy for the steep stretch to come.
Consider this when you look at this, too. Bush has played in all 16 games twice in his career -- his rookie season with New Orleans in 2006 and last season with Miami.
Divisional opponent Chicago is next week. Traveling to rival Green Bay is the week after that. For the Lions to have a good shot in both of those games, they need their offensive catalyst to be ready to play and turn into the play-breaker he’s shown he can be in the first game and a half of the season.
For Bush, his knees are probably the most important joint for him to keep healthy because of what his responsibilities are and how he runs. If he can’t accelerate or cut the way he is used to, his effectiveness diminishes greatly. And if the Lions have long-term playoff plans, they need Bush to be as effective and as healthy as humanly possible.
Plus, Detroit might be able to slip past Washington even without Bush available. Washington, statistically, has the worst defense in the league and running back is a position where there is some depth, even if Joique Bell, Theo Riddick and Mikel Leshoure don’t have the speed and skills Bush has.
Bell has shown in the past he can be a capable player. Leshoure has been patiently waiting (and inactive prior to this week) for any sort of chance to show he can still make plays.
Riddick can most closely approximate the skill set Bush has. It is why it is possible he could see his first extended action against Washington.
And in Bush's absence, Detroit might even find out what it has in its other running backs.