Looking at the Lions' free agent signings through the lens of their former coaches

Posted Mar 19, 2013

Reggie Bush and Glover Quin come to Detroit heralded as consummate pros

PHOENIX– If TMZ's cameras or any gossip columnists had followed Reggie Bush around his workplace in Miami the last two years, they'd have been disappointed with what they found.

Telling an editor that you have tape of a guy doing his job likely would get a yawn and a next assignment about bulk trash pickup day.

Bush worked at playing football, and not much else. He worked hard, put in extra time after practice, and was recognized as such an important team leader that he was one of four veterans on head coach Joe Philbin's "Leadership Council."

It might be boring stuff for people looking for high ratings and circulation numbers, but it was exactly what any team would want in a key player.

The Lions, who signed Bush as a free agent last week, are getting a player who has been a star and celebrity since his days at Southern Cal. But they're also getting a player who is serious about his job.

"A very good football player," Philbin said Tuesday at the NFL meetings. "He went about his business the right way. Practiced every day. Played every week. Good football player.

"We used him in a variety of different ways, and he made a nice contribution to the offense. As I've said many times, he was very positive in the building. He went about his business – not quiet, but he was a pro. He was very good to work with."

Coaches of AFC teams were available in an interview session Tuesday. In addition to Philbin's comments on Bush, Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak spoke highly of safety Glover Quin, who was signed by the Lions.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano had good words for two former Lions – offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus, who signed with the Colts last week as a free agent, and Drew Stanton, a backup with the Lions for four years who signed last week with Arizona and could be their starting quarterback. Stanton spent the 2012 season as a backup in Indy.

Also signing with the Lions last week was defensive lineman Jason Jones, who spent the 2012 season in Seattle after four years in Tennessee.

Bush is the star of the group. His signing was the highlight of last Wednesday's four-player haul for the Lions – Jones, Quin and Bush coming in as free agents, and cornerback Chris Houston re-signing after three seasons as a Lion.

Bush has said and done all the right things to demonstrate his commitment to contribute to the offense.

At his signing-day press conference, Bush said watching offensive tapes and seeing defenses with only five or six players in the box is "a running back's dream."

Reggie Bush
Photo: @reggie_bush22 on Instagram

On Friday, Bush tweeted: "Up late getting some studying in learning the new Playbook"

Bush is noted for his grueling, unorthodox offseason workout program. On Monday he tweeted: "Got a great workout in with my speed coach today Mr. Maurice Green! D Town lets go! #SpeedKills #LionBoood"

Bush has played seven pro seasons since being drafted second overall by the Saints in 2006. He has demonstrated his strengths at both ends of his career.

He had 83 catches in his first season with the Saints and 73 the second. They are his top two one-season receiving totals.

He had his best rushing totals the last two years after going to the Dolphins in 2011 -- 1,086 yards and a 5.0-yard average in 2011, and 986 yards and a 4.3-yard average in 2012.

Philbin is familiar with the Lions from his five seasons as the Packers' offensive coordinator (2007-11).

"I'm a lot more familiar with the Lions on defense, obviously from my years in Green Bay," Philbin said.

"Good football players can fit in any system. He certainly has running skills. He certainly has catching skills.

"I'm sure they'll find a way to use him."

Kubiak said Quin's reliability and production will be assets to the Lions' defense. Quin missed only one game in four seasons and started every game except one the last three years.

"You're getting a hell of a player, a very versatile player," Kubiak said. "I think the world of him. He's a leader on the field, off the field – a very accountable kid. I think he's in his prime, too. He's coming into year five. He'll do a great job."

Quin was drafted as a cornerback out of New Mexico, but the Texans projected him as a safety. He started at cornerback his first two seasons before moving.

"He played corner probably more through necessity early in his career," Kubiak said. "As we moved him, we felt like that would eventually be his position. That was the thought process before we ever drafted him."

The Colts are counting on Cherilus to protect Andrew Luck, their young star quarterback. Cherilus missed only five games as a Lion and started 70 of 80 at right tackle, which will be his position in Indy.

"A big, massive, tough, nasty player that you want on your offensive line," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said of Cherilus. "Having played (the Lions) and watching him firsthand, he brings a ton to the table. He's going to be effective not only in the running game. He does a great job in pass protection.

"Getting Goz and Donald Thomas is only going to bolster our offensive line."

Thomas is a guard who formerly played for Miami.

Stanton, a second-round pick by the Lions in 2007, spent last season as Luck's backup. He recently signed with the Cardinals and will get a legitimate shot at the starting job.

As the backup to Matthew Stafford in Detroit and to Luck, Stanton has had scant playing time. He has not thrown a pass since the 2010 season, when he won two games late in the season as a starter when Stafford and Shaun Hill were out with injuries.

Stanton was popular with his teammates in Detroit and Indy and has natural leadership qualities. The issue will be his ability to be an effective passer and remain healthy for an extended period.

"That's something we're going to find out," Pagano said. "He's a great person, a great leader. The guy's got ability. If he's got to go in and get you out of a couple innings and play a few games here and there, he's got the ability to do that.

"I hate to see him go. Being the competitor he is, they all want an opportunity to start and play. That's great for him."