Each week, we'll look at who or what might be rising or falling with the Detroit Lions.
WR Ryan Broyles: The second-year receiver out of Oklahoma continues to rehab his right knee after tearing his ACL last December, but he could end up active for the first time if receiver Patrick Edwards (ankle) is unable to play. It’s not clear how much Broyles would be used in the offense immediately, but he will provide a sure-handed target whenever he is ready to go.
Running backs not named Reggie Bush: It is not completely certain what the Lions would do if Bush doesn’t play Sunday against Washington, but the chances of Joique Bell and Theo Riddick receiving increased carries and a more significant role would be high. Riddick is the most comparable back to Bush on the roster, with the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. If Bush were unable to go, it could mean running back Mikel Leshoure would be active for the first time this season.
QB Matthew Stafford: The fifth-year pro is having a great start to his season, finding receivers in rhythm and with space. Had his receivers not dropped any passes (they have eight) he would be completing more than 70 percent of his throws. As teams figure out how to plan against both Bush and Calvin Johnson at the same time, his numbers could increase if they ignore his secondary and tertiary options at receiver and tight end.
CB Darius Slay: The rookie will be a good cornerback in the future. He has the talent. But it wouldn’t be shocking to see veteran Rashean Mathis take some more of his snaps over the next few weeks unless Slay improves at a fast rate. Mathis has replaced Slay the past two weeks in games and is pushing for more time.
TE Tony Scheffler: After catching 42 passes and seeing 84 targets a season ago, the tight end has had only one pass thrown his way thus far in 2013. In two games he has no receptions and he barely played against Arizona, splitting his snaps with rookie Joseph Fauria, who already has three receptions and a touchdown. Scheffler has played in 21 of Detroit's 139 offensive snaps. Fauria, meanwhile, has played 17 snaps.
Detroit’s screen game: This is entirely based on Bush’s availability, but if he is unable to play Sunday, the Lions would lose their most effective option on short, dump-off passes out of the backfield. Considering how effective it has been for Detroit in the first two games of the season -- Bush scored on a short pass he turned into a 77-yard touchdown -- that could be a major loss to the Lions' offense if he’s out. It could also let teams focus more on Johnson.