Detroit Lions: Jahvid Best on the PUP List Does Not Mean Team Needs Another RB
It didn't come as a shock to me that Jahvid Best was placed on the physically unable to perform list on Monday; in fact, I'm a little surprised it took this long.
After all, it's been nearly a year since Best was put on injured reserve with the second concussion in just a pair of months.
This doesn't really change anything for the Detroit Lions if you think about it. I seriously doubt they expected Best to return in time for the season.
It's hard to believe that they really thought he might be back at all after they had a conference call of almost two dozen doctors who couldn't find a way to clear him.
While they haven't added any running backs to bolster the backfield, it isn't for lack of interest or concern. Rather, it is a confidence that the players they have—Kevin Smith and Mikel Leshoure, specifically—can carry the load.
While it may seem dicey to us—putting faith into one player who has been hurt repeatedly and was unemployed before injuries forced them to sign him again and a player coming off a severe Achilles injury—to them it's a calculated risk.
Really, they've had a lot of time to look at Leshoure and feel that, yes, he can be as productive (or close to it) as he was before the injury. He didn't look great this past week, but remember it was the first game he'd played in a year. There was bound to be rust.
As for Smith, they will not run him into the ground and will split the carries between him and Leshoure (or another back on the roster if Leshoure is hurt) so as to keep the wear and tear on him down.
Not running out to get another back also supports what Dave Birkett was saying in the Detroit Free Press—that while they may run some more, ultimately they will pass as often as possible.
The simple fact is that the bulk of the talent is in the passing game. Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford and Titus Young and Brandon Pettigrew—a run game will help and could be important, but as other teams have proved, you can win just throwing the ball. The Lions have more talent than a lot of other teams.
Ultimately, you have to trust the staff in Detroit. They have spent a lot of time planning for this possibility and using last season as a template for what not to do.
While it may not seem ideal to lose Best, it's far from disastrous and no cause to run out and add the first warm body you can find.
The tools are already there to make up the snaps.
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