Jim Schwartz says Reggie Bush could catch 60-80 passes in 2013

Posted Apr 10, 2013

Scott Linehan can dust off the plays used specifically for Jahvid Best's skill set in 2010 and 2011 with the addition of Reggie Bush

Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz grew up in Baltimore a big Orioles fan and he often uses baseball analogies when talking about his football team.

One of his more recent analogies involved new running Reggie Bush, who Schwartz says can "clear the bases" as a homerun threat.

The Lions signed Bush in the first 24 hours of free agency for his big-play ability. They didn’t sign him to run between the tackles, though he proved the last two years in Miami he’s very capable in that role, rushing for more than 2,000 yards as their primary back.

Reggie BushRB Reggie Bush

The Lions want to get Bush out on the edges and in space and that’s how offensive coordinator Scott Linehan is going to use him. One way to get him in space is to utilize him as a receiver, which they plan to do plenty.

"Last year, when he played for the Miami Dolphins, he was a running back," Schwartz said Tuesday at a Town Hall Meeting for season ticketholders at Ford Field. "He didn’t have very many catches. He had about 20 catches last year. This is a guy who can potentially catch 60-to-70-to-80 balls, depending on how you use him."

That may seem like a lot of catches for a running back but it only breaks down to five a game. Bush caught 88 passes in 2006 as a rookie and averaged 80.5 catches per season his first two years in New Orleans.

In 2011, through the first 5 1/2 games Jahvid Best was healthy, he was averaging five catches per game for the Lions.

Starting in 2010 with the selection of Best in the first round of the NFL Draft, the Lions have targeted the running back position in the passing game 155 times in 2010, 106 times in 2011 and 133 times last year, with an average of 95 receptions per season over than span from the position.

Bush is going to play the same role Jahvid Best did at the beginning of the 2011 season. The run plays designed to utilize his speed and quickness will be back in the playbook and he’ll be a well-used receiving threat.

"He’s a very good open-field runner," Schwartz said of Bush. "Even though he did a good job with what Miami was asking him to do last year (running 117 times between the tackles), that wasn’t what he did best.

"You want to put players in the best position for them to show what they can do, the best position to effect the game, the best position to be able to make an impact on the game and help win the game and that’s what we plan to do with Reggie."

Don’t be at all surprised if Bush fits into that 60- to 80-catch range Schwartz mentioned Tuesday night.

"We have about 1,000 touches per year in our offense," Schwartz said. "There’s going to be more than enough for Calvin (Johnson) and Nate Burleson and Brandon Pettigrew and everyone else we have, including Reggie Bush. We have a very specific role in mind for him."