Reggie Bush shook his head in astonishment when asked about his retaliatory shove to Cleveland linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, resulting in a drive-killing 15-yard personal-foul penalty.
“I know better,” Bush said. “I’ve been in this league long enough and had enough experience to know that those penalties can completely change the momentum of a game.”
But he’s new to the Lions, where the inexplicable becomes the routine.
Changing that perception was one of Bush’s motivations in coming to Detroit. Like several of his free-agent predecessors, he came to the Lions confident that he could offer that missing equilibrium. And often they eventually would leave the Lions babbling incoherently.
Bush didn’t hide his disappointment in the wretchedness of the Lions’ 24-6 loss Thursday night. Even though exhibitions don’t count, they do matter in establishing an identity, a mind-set that a team takes into the regular season.
Bush didn’t accept that the Lions couldn’t sustain a viable offensive threat, even with Calvin Johnson sitting out with a sore knee.
Leadership is addressed openly only on those teams that haven’t consistently won. It’s why the hope of leadership always carries more sway with the Lions. They’re constantly looking, searching for that strong voice and presence that might carry the torch out of a half century of darkness.
Perhaps that is naïve. But Bush fully embraced his role as a leader in the aftermath of the Lions’ meltdown in all three categories against Cleveland — offense, defense and special teams. Consistently good teams don’t casually dismiss such poor efforts simply because they don’t count in the standings.
“The objective of the preseason is to create a carryover in the regular season,” Bush said.
Whether or not there’s an actual carryover from games when the starters play so infrequently is up for debate.