Lions To Stick With Best, Despite Injuries

You don't know if he's being determined or delusional, but coach Jim Schwartz is sticking with rookie running back Jahvid Best, sore feet and lagging production be damned.

You don't know if he's being determined or delusional, but coach Jim Schwartz is sticking with rookie running back Jahvid Best, sore feet and lagging production be damned.

Schwartz was asked Monday if the Lions might be reaching a point of diminishing returns on trying to play Best despite the lingering and debilitating toe injury.

"I don't think so," he said. "He was bottled up a lot of the game. We expect so much of him, the media and the fans, because we've seen the plays he can make. He's not going to make those every single time he touches the ball."

Every single time, no, but the reality is, he has made exactly two runs of 20 or more yards in the last 11 weeks, and two receptions of 20 or more yards in 11 weeks. He had 38 yards on a team-high 13 carries Sunday, 2.9 per carry.

If you take out the 45-yard run on a busted play at the end of the first half against the Bears, Best has produced 207 yards rushing in his last 81 carries over seven games (2.5 per carry).

By comparison, in the last four games Maurice Morris has produced 174 yards in 40 carries, 4.35 per carry.

Still, Schwartz isn't buying it.

"I thought (Best) did a very good job of getting positive gains and getting what was there," he said. "If he can contribute, and he did contribute in this game, he's going to be on the field for us."


  • KR Stefan Logan is no longer just a kick returner. You can add running back and wide receiver to his title. He's becoming a do-it-all weapon. "He's a play-maker," coach Jim Schwartz said. "The sign of a good player is you keep giving him a little more each week, and that's what you're seeing." Logan, while still handing both the punt and kickoff returns and still playing on both coverage teams, took five handoffs and gained 30 yards from the tailback position Sunday. "He gets a lot of attention when he comes in the game so can use him as a decoy at times, as well," Schwartz said.
  • LB Landon Johnson (neck), remarkably, could be back on the field as soon as Sunday. He was released from the hospital Sunday night; all tests came back negative. "Everything we did was precautionary," Schwartz said. "We could be getting him back real soon." Johnson was placed on a board and carted off the field Sunday after injuring his neck tackling Packers TE Andrew Quarless.
  • QB Drew Stanton will likely make his third straight start. He redeemed an otherwise shaky performance last week by completing five of his 10 total completions in the game on a game-winning 80-yard drive in the fourth quarter. He does add some spark to the running game. He had 44 yards on 11 carries Sunday.
  • RB Maurice Morris is an offensive lineman's dream. They don't have to clear much of a path for him to get positive yards. He has not been tackled for a loss since Week 1.
  • TE Will Heller, technically the third tight end after Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler, had only two catches all season before hauling in the 13-yard game-winner Sunday. He is used primarily as a blocker. He is 279 pounds, and as he showed Sunday, he is a load once he gets moving downhill.
  • WR Calvin Johnson had his touchdown streak snapped. He had 12 in the first 12 games. He was involved in the offense, though. He was targeted eight times, but Drew Stanton got him the ball only once, on a 44-yarder. He gained 13 yards on a reverse.
  • WR Bryant Johnson, benched for two of the previous three games, got a reprieve when WR Derrick Williams was lost for the season with an ankle injury. He made the most of it, catching two passes for 21 yards, including a clutch 11-yard third-down catch during the winning drive.
  • CB Nathan Vasher will probably start at right cornerback, and if so, he would be the fourth different player to do so this season. Jonathan Wade, Alphonso Smith and Brandon McDonald all preceded him. He will have to beat out Prince Miller this week, but both will play extensively in the nickel and dime packages.
  • OLB Bobby Carpenter got his first extended playing time of the season Sunday after Landon Johnson (neck) went out. Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham praised him, though he was only in on one tackle.
  • DE Turk McBride's two sacks Sunday gave him a career-high five on the season.
  • OT Jason Fox, a fourth-round pick in 2010 whom the Lions hope is the heir apparent to LT Jeff Backus in a couple of years, was active for the first time Sunday. He did not get into the game.

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