Reggie Bush Putting Up a Career Year for Dolphins

By Bill Daulton

When Reggie Bush was drafted second overall in the 2006 draft by the New Orleans Saints, many people thought that the Houston Texans were out of their minds for passing on him.  The Texans chose to select Mario Williams, a key component of their excellent defense the last few years.  Bush, meanwhile, was more hyped and the expectations were enormous.  Bush went on to win a Super Bowl Championship with the New Orleans Saints and played a role in their run.  However, Reggie was never really THE GUY.  In New Orleans, he was never used as an every down back.  He certainly didn’t run between the tackles as much as he has this season with the Dolphins.  Part of that was that he was ineffective…part of the reason is that he was often injured.  For these reasons, Reggie was used sparingly as a running back in New Orleans, but was utilized more as a wide receiving threat.

Since joining the Miami Dolphins, Reggie Bush has been reborn as a running back.  He’s running in between the tackles and he’s running hard.  Reggie Bush, the guy that many in the NFL have labeled as a bust and a soft player, has been delivering blows to defenders.  I will admit I didn’t see much of Reggie when he was in New Orleans.  But from all accounts, he NEVER ran this hard or with this much authority.  Maybe it’s because he wants to earn a new contract after the 2012 season….Maybe he’s finally fully healthy….Or maybe he is just now hitting his prime and fully understands what it takes to be a top 5 running back in this league.

Prior to 2011, Bush’s best rushing season was in 2007 when he carried 157 times for 581 yards (3.7 ypc) and 4 TDs.  This year, Bush has rushed 194 times for 973 yards (5.0 ypc) and 6 TDs.  Oh yeah, and he still has 2 games left to improve on that rushing total.  What is interesting is that the Dolphins have not utilized Bush as much as New Orleans as a receiver.  This year, Reggie has caught 41 balls for 270 yards and 1 TD.  In his 5 years with the Saints, Reggie averaged about 58 catches and 430 yards per season.  His BIG season was in 2006 when he caught 88 balls for over 700 yards.

When looking at total yards, Reggie’s best season was 2006 when he combined for 1,307 total yards (receiving/rushing).  This year, with 2 games left to play, Reggie has accumulated 1,243 total yards.  That means that Reggie is only 65 yards away from eclipsing his career best year in total yards.  The difference is that in 2006 Reggie was used more as a receiver and this season, he’s only 27 yards away from rushing for over 1,000 yards.

Reggie is signed through the 2012 season ($5 mil) and is looking to earn his next contract, from the Dolphins or another team.  There will surely be improvements on the offensive line this offseason and likely at QB.  This should only help Reggie sustain the momentum and continue to develop as a running back.  Great job by Reggie thus far in 2011, we hope he keeps it up!

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