Bust? Saints haven't figured out what to do with Reggie Bush
The subject is
Bush was supposed to revolutionize the NFL -- if he had lived up to his draft hype, the league would now be playing football on the moon. and Bush would be the best player there, what with his famed ability to "make plays in space." Instead, he is the fifth- or sixth- or eighth-most important player on his own offense. This is not what the Saints had in mind when they drafted him with the second overall pick in 2006.
So: Overrated? I see why you would say that.
And yet ... when you watch Bush at his best, you can see why his college highlight films are covered in drool. Normally with draft busts, you can tell why they failed.
Bush looks just like he was supposed to look. But he doesn't look that way
Bush's signature play in the Saints' NFC championship win on Sunday was when he sneaked onto the field and told
That play summed up Bush's whole career: it began with the anticipation he would do something magical, and ended with him trying to do something you just can't pull off in the NFL.
Maybe Bush isn't cut out for NFL stardom. Or maybe the NFL just hasn't figured out how to make Reggie Bush a star.
The fact is that, when you strip away the hype, the Saints used the second overall pick in the 2006 draft on a guy without a position. Oh, sure, Bush is listed at running back, but that's because whoever filled out his draft form had to list him as
Bush is not really a running back. Bush's heroics at USC overshadowed this, but in his last two years at USC, Bush only carried the ball 343 times. His teammate
In the epic 2006 Rose Bowl against Texas, when USC went for it on fourth-and-two from the Texas 45 to try to seal a win, Bush wasn't even on the field. White got ball (and only got a yard). In the game, White ran the ball 20 times and Bush only ran it 13.
Bush's natural position, then and now, is "weapon." Elite NFL running backs have to get the tough yards -- on third-and-two, on fourth-and-one, when their team is killing the clock. Bush didn't even do that in college. Is it realistic to expect him to do it in the pros?
Bush's skill set is similar to Minnesota rookie
For whatever reason, the Saints have never quite figured out how to use Bush. This happens a lot in the NFL. The Falcons had a hard time figuring out what to do with
And the Saints had an excellent excuse for failing to adapt to Bush's skills: it wasn't necessary. Coach
Still, I think somebody will figure it out. If the Saints really do let Bush go after the season, I hope he finds a team with a creative offensive coordinator -- somebody who sees him as part receiver, part Wildcat quarterback, sometime running back and some other thing I'm not smart enough to invent.
I still think Reggie Bush can transform a team. But first, some team has to transform Reggie Bush.