Each week, we’ll look at who or what might be rising or falling with the Detroit Lions.
RB Joique Bell: This, of course, depends on Bell’s health but if his ankle/foot injury allows him to play Sunday, he is starting to make a push for more snaps, perhaps at the expense of Reggie Bush. Before his injury against Pittsburgh, he was on pace for a 50-50 split with Bush against the Steelers. Sure, part of it might have had to do with the weather, but with Bush’s fumbling issues and drops issues, Bell might be able to steal some more carries and snaps.
WR Nate Burleson: The veteran appears much closer to playing this week and Detroit needs him. Before his broken forearm, he had been a nice third option for the Lions behind Calvin Johnson and Bush and if he is able to return to form, he’ll be an integral piece for the offense the rest of the season. That’s even more important because the Lions have fizzled when teams have been able to limit Johnson.
RG Larry Warford: Barring injury, it is rare for an offensive lineman to make Rising/Falling, but Warford is having an exceptional rookie season. He again played every snap Sunday, provided a key lead block on a long screen pass Sunday and also pulled well on the failed fake field goal. He has also shown the speed for a lineman to be able to be effective in the screen game and downfield blocking. According to Pro Football Focus, he was the only Lions lineman to not allow a quarterback sack, hit or hurry on Sunday.
RB Reggie Bush: He’s still a big playmaker for the Lions, but he has now lost two fumbles in the past three weeks and still has a 13 percent drop rate this season -- the highest of his career. While Bush won’t be out of any Detroit game plan, he needs to work on ball security for him to be as effective as the Lions need him to be.
WR Jeremy Ross: This is nothing Ross did, but Burleson’s return will likely cut down a lot of his snaps in the slot, especially with the comfortable emergence of Kris Durham as an outside receiver. Ross will probably still see a decent number of snaps, but he might not get as many opportunities as he has in the past two weeks.
S DeJon Gomes: Initially brought in as depth and a special teams player, Gomes was forced to play some safety after injuries Sunday. It did not go well in limited snaps. According to Pro Football Focus, Gomes was thrown at twice -- and receivers caught both passes for 19 yards. He was one of the primary safeties during Pittsburgh’s 97-yard game-winning touchdown drive.