Everybody knows that the Detroit Lions are going to get the ball to Reggie Bush as much as they can this upcoming season. The speedy running back/wide receiver is set to join an already top-notch offense, but it looks like he could play a role on special teams as well. Lions’ special teams coordinator John Bonamego recently stated that the team does plan to use Bush as a punt returner.
“Reggie will have a role. Reggie (can return punts) and is willing to do it. That’s more situational – we need one, let’s put him back there and let’s see if he can make something happen. I had him his first two years in the league in New Orleans and that was the way he was utilized in that role. So, he’s back there catching them in practice.”
I’m sure there’s a decent percentage of Lions’ fans that read that and started to clinch their teeth. Returning punts doesn’t come without it’s risks, so it’s fair to wonder if this is a smart call by Detroit and Bonamego.
For the standpoint of ‘just get the ball in the hands of your playmakers’ this is a good move. Getting Bush involved as much as possible, should increase the team’s chances of winning, week in and week out. I like this decision from that perspective, but does the reward outweigh the risk?
If, and only if, the Lions limit this to occasional situations, it’s a good move. I’m not going to call it smart, but if they need a guy to go out and take one to the house in a crucial spot, Bush is the man for the job. There’s no denying that he can bust one at anytime, and you just can’t say that about most players. So if Bonamego can resist the temptation to put him out there on a regular basis, I think it’s a good move.
The last thing the team needs is for the top offseason acquistion to go down on a punt return. They didn’t bring him in to return punts, they brought him in to make their offense even more elite. As long as the primary focus is on getting him the ball during downs one through three, there’s no harm in letting him return punts in big spots.
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