Detroit Lions’ head coach Jim Schwartz tends to play things close to the vest when he speaks to reporters, and he was doing it again in regard to WR Patrick Edwards’ ankle injury. No matter how hard he was pressed, he refused to make any kind of commitment where the use of WR Ryan Broyles in place of Edwards might be concerned.
The dilemma is a simple one: Broyles is coming off his second ACL injury in as many years and frankly, the Lions want to be cautious with him. Attempting to keep any role he might have limited as protection for his recovery, the real question is whether he could handle a full game workload in relief of Edwards if such became necessary. If Edwards’ ankle injury is serious enough, the Lions’ coaches will have some decisions to make.
The news for Reggie Bush’s injury was good, but his participation in this Sunday’s game in Washington DC is not being discussed publicly by the Lions, and may be not be guaranteed. Bush declared his intention to play, but the coaching staff and the medical people are the final authority. If he does play, his performance and participation may be limited.
And through it all sits Theo Riddick. The rookie running back from Notre Dame has experience as a slot receiver and during the preseason showed good hands and a knack for getting open. Displaying the kind of versatility the Lions like, Riddick can be a little bit of a secret weapon where the injuries to Reggie Bush and Patrick Edwards are concerned. Riddick’s straight line speed, maneuverability and the capacity to make sharp cuts and rapid changes in direction are the reasons I called him “Bush Lite” some months ago, but not to be forgotten are his skills and prior experience as a slot receiver.
Should the injuries to Bush and Edwards put undue pressure on the coaching staff to deactivate one or both of them, Riddick provides more options than the Lions might otherwise have. But they have to get him in the game in order to make use of his potential. After Bush and Edwards both went down last Sunday, it was as if the Lions forgot they had Riddick in their back pocket, for he only played a single offensive snap. The hope might be that we will see more of Riddick this weekend, especially if both Bush and Edwards cannot go, even if they are supplanted in part by a recovering Ryan Broyles and lost-in-the-shuffle running back Mikel Leshoure.
Theo Riddick is waiting. It may be time for the Lions to fully unwrap him and find out what he can do.
Earl Richmond is a long-suffering Detroit Lions fan and NFC North observer. He can be reached at ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com or via Twitter @HoggerRob