ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Reggie Bush may be listed as the Detroit Lions’ starting running back, but the snaps don’t lie.
Joique Bell is seeing more action.
That’s one of the biggest things to pull from the first two weeks of snap counts, particularly Sunday against Carolina, where Bell had 42 plays compared to Bush’s 29. The more interesting part is Bush’s usage seemed to go down as the game wore on, even as the Lions were shifting from a balanced team to a team needing to pass to score because they fell behind.
And then there’s Bell’s fumble -- offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said he isn’t going to punish a guy for fumbling once or twice as long as it isn’t habit-forming. The fumble didn’t hurt his usage, either. Last week, Bell had five more snaps than Bush.
It always felt like the Bell/Bush combination would be a time-sharing situation anyway, but the way it has broken down so far certainly is an indication that it might be Bell more than Bush as Detroit’s main running back.
Meanwhile, Theo Riddick had just two offensive snaps Sunday as the third back.
Some other snap count thoughts:
Garrett Reynolds received the start at right tackle over Cornelius Lucas and played 55 of 72 snaps (76 percent). Lucas came in, mostly late in the game from what I could tell, and played 17 snaps at right tackle. It isn’t clear when LaAdrian Waddle will return from his calf injury, but when he does, he’ll end up right back in the lineup as neither player was overly impressive.
The tight end snap count is going to be something to watch. As long as Waddle is out, expect Brandon Pettigrew to get a decent amount of snaps (35 of 72), followed by Joseph Fauria (25 of 72) and Eric Ebron (26 of 72). Fauria is turning into the most complete tight end of the three, mostly due to his massively improved blocking. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Pettigrew’s snaps drop while Fauria’s and Ebron’s rise over the course of the season.
George Johnson is starting to emerge as Detroit’s third defensive end. He played 27 of 67 snaps on Sunday, nine more than Devin Taylor (18 of 67) and 13 more than Darryl Tapp (14 of 67). He has had the production to match it. Johnson had another tackle against Carolina.
Cassius Vaughn’s snaps are about to go up. With Nevin Lawson out for a while and no other corners on the roster right now, he’s likely to slide into the nickel corner spot that seems to be an injury-prone area right now after Bill Bentley’s ACL tear in Week 1 and Lawson’s dislocated foot Sunday. Cornerback Rashean Mathis, who could also play inside, had confidence in Vaughn and so did the coaches. Even before Lawson’s injury, he was getting some run at the slot corner. It’s almost a guarantee Detroit is making a move for a defensive back again this week. At least one of them.