Reggie Bush's Production in Miami Proves Why The Saints Let Him Walk

It’s been an unusual week here in New Orleans.

The “Who Dat Nation” continues to show its support for the Black and Gold in the French Quarter; however, the intensity has died down a bit for the Saints’ Week Four matchup.  With the team travelling to Jacksonville (1-2), one would say that many fans aren’t too concerned about the squad’s chances of achieving victory on Sunday.  The Jaguars, who are currently being led by rookie Quarterback Blaine Gabbert, are coming off of a loss to the Carolina Panthers in Week Three, and they have shown little explosiveness on the offensive side of the ball.  That bodes well for New Orleans, as the Saints should be able to handle the Jaguars in every phase of the game come Sunday afternoon.

So, with a lousy matchup in play for this weekend, I thought we’d have a little fun and look at a guy who left the team with hopes of a more promising future.  That guy is Reggie Bush.  That’s right “Who Dat Nation,” I’m bringing back the name of the former USC standout. 

In New Orleans, Bush is remembered for a variety of reasons.  Some recall his incredible ability to leap over opposing defenders en route to the end zone.  Others recall his insane break-away speed when lined up in the slot or returning a punt.  Heck, some even remember him simply because he caught more passes than any other rookie Running back in history.

But then there are those of us who remember him for other things.  Although I will admit that he had his moments as a Saint, it’s hard not to think back about Bush and recall the times that left me wanting to pull my hair out.  How many times were you watching the game on TV, only to be screaming at the screen multiple times during the contest game whenever Bush had the ball in his hands?  Let me guess, were you screaming this:  “Reggie stop running to the sidelines, run downfield!”  Ah, yes, who could forget the horizontal running style of Reggie Bush?  It was an intriguing style, to say the least. 

But I digress.  Bush gave New Orleans its share of jaw-dropping moments over his five-year tenure with the Saints, so I can’t be too hard on him. 

Looking now at this past offseason, many people in “The Big Easy” wondered the same thing:  was getting rid of Bush a smart move for the franchise?  In the Saints’ offense, Bush was looked at as a third-down RB, who, in his earlier days in New Orleans, would spell fellow RBs Deuce McAllister, Pierre Thomas, and Chris Ivory on occasion.  But Bush wanted more.  So when the Saints chose former Alabama RB Mark Ingram in the 2011 NFL Draft, they decided that letting Bush walk may be the best option for the team.  The young RB would end up signing with the Dolphins and hoping for the opportunity to make the most of his new situation.

In Miami, the Dolphins organization wanted Bush to be the star.  And Bush, a kid fresh off of filling in the role as a third-down RB over the course of five seasons, saw the chance to be the premier back on a rebuilding Dolphins offense.  "It's an opportunity I've wanted and envisioned as long as I've played football,” Bush said.  "I've always wanted to be a featured back and the main guy and I feel like there's an opportunity here for that.”

So Bush and the Dolphins went into the season with that mindset.  On the flip side, the Saints were spending time finding the man to replace Bush in the New Orleans backfield, and former Charger Darren Sproles would the player for the job.

Looking back at the offseason from Week Four of the 2011 campaign, I believe that many would agree:  the Saints got it right. 

So far in 2011, Bush has been sub-par.  In three games, he has had 27 carries for 69 yards and 2.6 yards/carry.  On the receiving end, where he thrived in New Orleans, Bush has 11 receptions for 71 yards and a TD.  He is averaging 23.7 yards/game as a receiver.  On the other side, I think it’s safe to say that the Saints are enjoying his replacement.  In only eight carries, Sproles has totaled 59 yards and a TD, averaging 7.4 yards/carry.  As a receiver, Sproles has 21 receptions for 168 yards and a TD.  Oh, and let us not forget that Sproles also assumed the role as punt/kickoff returner, recording a TD and 203 total yards in that respect.

So let me get this straight:  Bush, who was supposed to be the premier back in Miami, has a mere 27 carries?  Also, Sproles has 19 fewer attempts on the ground than Bush, yet Bush only eclipses his total yards on the ground by ten?  How is this possible?

Simple.  Bush went into Miami looking for the opportunity to be the featured back.  He got his chance, and he never took advantage of it.  He has since been replaced by the Dolphins’ second-round pick in the 2011 Draft, Daniel Thomas.  Thomas has taken the role as starter and run with it (literally), getting 41 attempts for 202 yards (4.9 AVG).  As a receiver, Thomas has four receptions for 37 yards and a TD. 

So folks, the moral of the story is simple. 

In New Orleans, Bush always wanted to be more.  He wanted to be the every-down back at some point in his career; however, it has come to our attention that he was never capable of that.  His running style, matched with his physical attributes simply do not allow for it, and he has found out the hard way in Miami.  The fact that he has been downgraded to his former role with the Dolphins only further proves that the Saints knew what they were doing when they decided to let their former first-round pick walk this past offseason.

And to all the people who wanted Bush to stay, hopefully Mr. Sproles is allowing you to forget him a little quicker.

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