Notebook: Reggie Bush shows impact, Matt Willis impresses and Lions escape injury-free

Posted Aug 9, 2013

Tim Twentyman on Bush's debut as a Lion, Willis' terrific catches and players leaving the game healthy

When the Lions wined and dined Reggie Bush during the first 24 hours of free agency, they did so with the knowledge of what his presence could mean for their offense and the way teams would have to defend him.

In the first preseason game vs. the Jets Friday night, we saw firsthand what Bush's presence means.

It was the second offensive series of the game and a corner was forced to come off receiver Calvin Johnson and his corner route to account for Bush in the flat. That left Johnson one-on-one and quarterback Matthew Stafford found him for a 28-yard gain.

That's not a misprint, a corner left Megatron to account for someone else.

"I'm used to it the other way around," Stafford said. "I went up to Reggie afterwards and I was like, 'Nobody ever drops Calvin for anybody.' It was kind of awesome having a corner drop Calvin to play Reggie coming out of the backfield. That's the kind of the offense that we envision."

Bush made his impact felt even earlier when he hurdled a defender on a third-down run to pick up the first down.

"It was good to get the crowd going a little bit," Bush said of the play. "I didn't plan it. It was kind of an instincts thing because the guy was going so low so it just kind of happened that way. I could care less about the hurdle, it was just getting a first down."

Bush carried the ball three times for five yards against a stout Jets run defense and had two passes overthrown to him, but his impact was felt even when he didn't have the ball.

"I can definitely bring a little bit to this team to where it takes a little pressure off some of the other guys and vice versa," Bush said. "I definitely felt like we took advantage of some of those opportunities today and it was good to see that."


The Lions are on the lookout for two receivers to emerge as playmakers in those No. 4 and No. 5 spots.

The players that win those spots will no doubt be big contributors on special teams, but the Lions need them to make plays on offense, too.

Matt Willis was a very good cover man on special teams for the Denver Broncos the last couple years, but also flashed at times as a receiver. He had 18 catches in 2011 with a long of 42.

Willis made two terrific catches in Friday's game, including a diving 15-yard touchdown in the second quarter from quarterback Shaun Hill, and finished with three catches for 51 yards.

He was the team's second-leading receiver behind Johnson and outpaced some of the other receivers vying for those spots who've gotten more reps in camp thus far.

The preseason is about making plays and Willis did that vs. the Jets.


Safety Louis Delmas, guard Leroy Harris, defensive end Israel Idonije, wide receiver Ryan Broyles and cornerbacks Ron Bartell, Chris Greenwood and Jonte Green did not dress for the game.

Most of them went through warm-ups, including Delmas, but were ruled out of game action for various reasons.

Head coach Jim Schwartz has said for weeks that the main goal is to get everyone ready for Week 1 vs. Minnesota. A lot of these players would have likely played had it been a regular season game.

Rookie second-round pick Darius Slay started for Bartell at right cornerback and Don Carey took Delmas' place in the starting lineup at safety.


The Lions have been very fortunate to have not suffered any major injuries thus far in camp and seemed to escape Friday without any, either.

"Yeah, I mean, it didn't look like it was anything serious," Schwartz said. "We're going to have a few guys that are going to be limited, things like that. But we've been fortunate to be able to get through without some major stuff."