Tag Archives: Miami Dolphins

The Renaissance of Reggie Bush

by Jim Bearor

Reggie Bush stirred the pot recently when he said that his goal for this season was to win the rushing title.  Of course this sent everyone at ESPN into a frenzy, as the vast majority of analysts gave him props for showing such confidence, but dismissed his goal for the simple fact that it came from the mouth of Reggie Bush.  This is the same Reggie Bush that was selected with the 3rd overall pick in 2006 by New Orleans, and was more of a novelty pass-catcher than a running back.

When he came into the league, the expectations were high that he would be frequently starring on highlight shows due to his explosive running style.  He didn’t live up to the hype, although he did provide the occasional spark off of a punt return or pass from the great Drew Brees.  It surprised me how fast his fan base seemed to turn on him.  I know that he wasn’t putting up adequate rushing numbers to warrant such a high draft pick, but he was also not in a situation where it was possible for him to rush for over 100 yards a game.  The Saints offense is built around Brees, and everyone else is interchangeable.  They spread out receivers, and use their running backs as receivers coming out of the backfield almost as much as they use them to rush the ball.  This is why Darren Sproles couldn’t have found a better fit of a team.

Bush did struggle running between the tackles during his time there, but he has adapted to the north-south running style that NFL rushers must have and his numbers have improved because of it.  His 1,086 rushing yards off of only 216 carries last year in Miami really impressed me, but the stat that really stuck out was that he averaged 5.6 yards-per-carry between the tackles.  The change of scenery provided him with a fresh start and the opportunity to redefine his career.  A stacked offensive line and Tony Sparano’s offense had a lot to do with this renaissance as well.

Sparano is gone, but Bush has made it known that he is no slouch and is fully capable of being a feature back in a run-heavy offense.  How the offense changes this year is yet to be seen, seeing as Joe Philbin, the former Green Bay offensive coordinator is calling the plays now.  Although the Packers were a pass-heavy team under Philbin, they had Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball and Ryan Tannehill is not a worthy substitute – at least not at this point in time.

So even though Bush’s goals may be a bit lofty, I expect him to surprise a lot of people this year.  In an offense that lost its biggest receiving threat (Brandon Marshall), and has a rookie quarterback to groom, Reggie is the most reliable tool they have.  If he doesn’t compete for the rushing title – which wouldn’t shock me, honestly – he can still burn you in the passing and return games.  Without a doubt, he’ll be one of the guys I rely on in my fantasy league and I’ll be very confident doing so.  Bush is being productive, outspoken, and self-confident.  Maybe he still can be the superstar we all thought he would be when he came into the league.

Follow Jim on Twitter: @JimBearor


Draft Ramblings

Drafting based on need sounds like it makes a lot of sense.  Instead of overpaying a free agent to come in and fill a hole, you bring in a young, raw athlete with boatloads of potential and shape him however you choose. Sounds simple enough, but I have some problems with that school of thought. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe that great teams build through the draft.  I just don’t buy into the idea of bringing in a rookie and then trying to turn them into the player that your team needs rather than helping them progress and further developing their skill set that made them special in the first place.  There are exceptions, but for the most part, a great player is great because they are allowed to play to their strengths.

This is especially true with quarterbacks.  How many times have you seen a QB overdrafted because the team didn’t have a quality starter and needed immediate help?  Of course this is a quarterback-driven league, and it’s nearly impossible to win nowadays without someone special under center.  NFL teams know this, but it seems like they panic under the gun and reach for something that isn’t there.  There is no other explanation that I can come up with for the Vikings choosing Christian Ponder with the 12th overall pick in last year’s NFL Draft.  Drafting him with such a high pick doesn’t mean that he is going to play up to that level, it just means that the Vikings didnt get their moneys worth with that pick.

What I’m saying is that drafting a guy like Ponder just to fill a hole makes no sense.  In my opinion, he is not the same caliber player as guys like Mike Pouncey or Nick Fairley, who were both available when Minnesota was on the clock.  Teams need to learn to take a step back and realize that when the special QB – or whatever other position the team needs – isn’t there, use the pick to its full potential by choosing someone who is just plain better.

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