After leaving the Detroit Lions’ 24-17 win over the New York Jets in the third quarter with a possible concussion, it was confirmed on Wednesday injury report that running back Joique Bell did suffer a concussion, as well all thought. Although, no one expects this injury to keep Bell out for the season, it could keep him out this Sunday, as the Lions take on the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field.
Bell was held out of practice on Wednesday and it’s expected by many that he will continue to be held out of practice this week. Although head coach Jim Caldwell wouldn’t go into details concerning Bell’s progress, he did imply that the Lions are preparing with expectation that Bell won’t play, because he hasn’t cleared protocol yet.
“There’s protocol that’s involved and they follow the protocol,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “At some point in time, we’ll know what his status is. Until that time, we have to go along and move ahead until there is some clarity to it.”
Naturally, this could mean an extended role for running back Reggie Bush. I don’t know about you but I was really impressed with running Bush last Sunday. Despite the fact that the Lions finished the game without three running backs, after losing Joique Bell to a head injury and Montell Owens and Theo Riddick to hamstring injuries. Bush, who in the past was known as more of an east-west guy, proved once again that he has grown into a better all-around back, as he fought for tough yardage and the helped the Lions to run the ball and move the chains to close out the game with a win.
Now could Bush do that again this Sunday against the Bills? Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi certainly thinks so.
“I think (Bush) can do it, whether you want to do it for 16 weeks in a row would be the question.” Lombardi said before practice Thursday. “I think if we’re thin at running back this week — Reggie could handle that.”
“You never know who is up until you get to game on Sunday, but if Joique can’t go then like every week, someone is going to have step up and fill in the slack. That probably means that Reggie (Bush) will have a bigger role and whoever are second back is will have to pick up that slack again.”
Although, Bush would probably take on most of the slack seeing tha he would have the bigger role, while Bell is out. It’s safe to say that running back George Winn, who was recently promoted from practice squad, could potentially be that second back, who earn plenty of carries this Sunday and helps to pick up the slack.
“Sure, I would agree with that.” Lombardi said of Winn getting multiple carries this Sunday. “(In preseason.) I think you saw a decisive back, a guy that gets the ball, makes his read and goes. So he is very efficient, you’re not going to see a lot of lost yardage plays for him, which is comforting as an offense. So he’s strong, he runs hard — I wouldn’t want to tackle him, so we saw a lot of good things.
If you look back at Winn’s preseason stats you will see that Winn is pure play-maker just like Lombardi described him to be. During preseason play, he gathered 161 all-purpose yards, not to mention two rushing touchdown. He clearly showed that if you put him in the back-field at running back, he has the power, vision and burst to make plays. Plus we also know that if you put him on special teams, he has that same great ability to make plays and be an accurate tackler, which is plus considering Winn can help to fill the void of Owens who was a key component of the Lions’ special teams unit.
The only knock against Winn in his entire preseason play were his two fumbles. However, Winn said on Wednesday that thanks to the Lions great defense, his ball security has improved. Plus, as he mentioned later on, being with the Lions since training camp makes his transition from practice squad to game action, that much easier
“Being on the practice squad has really helped me to develop (better ball security).” Winn replied. “The defense actually probably swings at the ball more than I have experience in my life, in terms of stripping the ball, so I have been working on my job security and it has been helpful.”
“(Being here since training camp) also makes the transition to game action that much easier.” Winn said. “Knowing the plays, be comfortable with the players, the offense and even playing Buffalo earlier this year, makes it all more comfortable.”
So would it be bad to see Bell miss this Sunday’s game?
However, it doesn’t change the fact that the Lions have options to help fill the void of Bell this Sunday, starting with Reggie Bush and Detroit Native George Winn.
Written by LBeasley (Lauren Beasley), Sports Editor of Radio One Detroit
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