It is being reported today by ESPN (who’s reporting accuracy record has been quite questionable lately) that Jahvid Best will start the season on the PUP list. When a player is assigned to the Physically Unable to Perform list as of week 1 of the NFL, they are not eligible to come of and play until after week 6.
If this report is true, despite feeling well and working out just fine, Jahvid Best is clearly not ready to play football. Suffering his third concussion in 3 years against the 49ers last year, Best’s future is in question.
The Lions have other questions at running back as well, with Mikael Leshoure just resuming practice today after being out almost two weeks with a hamstring injury, being suspended for weeks 1 and 2 and not playing in an actual football game since December of 2009.
Kevin Smith provided a spark last year when the Lions rescued him from the scrap heap but he himself has struggled to stay healthy. Then the Lions are looking at even more question marks in Keiland Williams, a sometimes useful, sometimes useless back up and a youngster from Wayne State with no NFL regular season action, Joique Bell.
So that really puts the Lions backfield in trouble if Best is still suffering from his concussion issues from last October. Expected to split time at RB with Leshoure and possibly Smith, Best has proved to be quite useful in the passing game and as a possible change of pace back in 2012.
In today’s NFL, where a traditional, up the gut, running game is not necessary, keeping a speedy, slashing running back like Best on the field keeps the defense from quintuple teaming Calvin Johnson as he is able to take screen passes to the end zone and scoot around defenders often.
With this news the pick of wide receiver Ryan Broyles in the second round of the draft makes much more sense now, as Boyles isn’t a big time speedy receiver, he is a possession, short quick routes, under the defense type receiver.
If Broyles is healthy (coming off a knee injury) then he could help with the short comings in the backfield and allow Stafford to keep the short, intermediate routes so the defenses can’t focus solely on Johnson and Titus Young and keep the ball moving forward.
Again, ESPN has misreported a few different stories recently, like last night’s report that the 49ers will only allow Randy Moss 20 offensive plays per game. Instead, it was a passing comment by the GM that Moss “could possibly only see 20-25 plays per game” due to the depth of their receivers.
Only time will tell Best’s condition and he is working out, just not practicing and taking hits yet. So if he isn’t cleared for contact by the last week in August don’t look for Best on the field until at least the Monday night game in Chicago.