A lot has been made of Reggie Bush’s appearance in Detroit. I love the signing because it will give the Lions that “Javid Best-like” option both in the run and pass game, which the Lions envisioned having last year, but never got. When Bush signed he said he was excited to not see any more 8-man boxes against him – mainly because Calvin Johnson.
Pro Football Focus recently put out an article about which running backs faced highest % of plays against 8 men in the box. To no surprise, Mikel Leshoure was the lowest in the league – by far. Leshoure (read: Lions’ entire running attack) only saw 8 men in the box 6.05% of the time. To put that in perspective, the league average was 23.25%. The sad thing about this, is that Leshoure still couldn’t produce any explosive plays vs these types of defenses. Enter Reggie Bush. Bush has the speed both as a runner and reciever to at least make defensive coordinators think twice about putting Safties 20 yards deep.
Detroit Lions were last in NFL with four runs of 20+ yards in 2012, while 37% of Reggie Bush's rushing yards came on runs of 15+.—
Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) May 08, 2013
Let’s take a look at two plays, one from Leshoure and one from Bush, that display the type of plays you can expect from Bush and demonstrate why Leshoure was largely ineffective as an explosive back.
Leshoure cleary doesn’t have the speed to split the Safety and Cornerback to get to the endzone from 20+ yards. This why you saw him initiate contact on more plays than necessary.
Bush, on the other hand, has plenty of speed to take advantage of deep Safeties and make them pay. It will be a very nice change of pace this season if the Lions can get some consistence production and explosive plays out of the run game.