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.
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