Andy Cohen: Reggie Bush Just Getting Warmed Up

Posted Nov 15, 2011

This the Reggie Bush we’ve been waiting to see. Quick moves. Sudden burst. Great instincts. Crucial plays. This is why the Dolphins signed Reggie Bush and this is why he is such a unique player in the history of this franchise.v

But we had to wait. It took time for Bush to get a feel for this offense and, conversely, it took time for the Dolphins to get a feel for Bush. But the feeling out time has apparently ended. Over the past two games, both victories, Bush has placed his signature on this offense. Boy, has he placed it.

First it was against the Chiefs, running for some chunk yardage, catching some big passes, showing the diversity we knew that that he had. Then it was against the Redskins where Bush scored a couple of touchdowns, the second one clinching the victory.

There were whispers when the Dolphins signed Bush, that maybe he didn’t fit the mold of an every down back, that maybe the Dolphins should instead be using him as situational player, which is what he was in New Orleans for all those years.

But give Tony Sparano and his staff credit. They never wavered. They were convinced that Bush could start and play, if needed on every down. They saw a player who had yet to reach his vast potential.

Well, there is still much to prove. A big day against the Giants running the ball and these back-to-back splendid efforts will not completely silence the skeptics. But they certainly began the process, in a big way.

After watching Bush, after seeing what he brings to this offense, it is clear to me already that he can handle this significant assignment and, who knows, someday become one of the elite every down (or most downs) backs in this league.

See, what separates Bush for most every other back, is his speed and quickness. Some players are quick. Some are fast. It is rare to find a combination of both.

Go back to his fourth quarter touchdown run against the Redskins. This was vintage Bush. He lined up wide. He took an end-around handoff from quarterback Matt Moore and used that speed to turn the corner. Then he brought the quickness factor, sidestepping several Redskins defenders on his way to the end zone. Average backs don’t make that play. Not many do.

This is why Reggie Bush means so much to the Dolphins and why, when he plays like this, the chances of victory are greatly increased.

Little wonder Bush heaved the ball into the stands after his game-clinching run. It was such a sense of relief for this little/big man. He was finally making a statement and it was impossible not to notice.

“My past team, I wasn’t able to run the ball much,” Bush said. “I wasn’t able to get a lot of opportunities. It feels good to be able to come down here and achieve some of the success we’re achieving. Not just me, but as a team.”

Bush has 242 yards rushing in his past three games, the best three-game run of his career. He now needs just 108 yards to surpass his career-high rushing total of 581 yards. The way he’s been playing, he could do that Sunday against Buffalo.

The Dolphins are using Bush in all sorts of ways. They run him off tackle. They pitch it to him. They throw him a pass in the flat. They send him on a wheel route down the sideline as they did on a big play against the Chiefs. They line him up wide and in the slot. They even paired him with fellow running back Daniel Thomas on occasion against the Redskins and it was Thomas who led the way on that 18-yard touchdown run.

The intriguing part now isn’t what he has done as much as what he could do both in the remaining seven games and in seasons to come. When I think back to the running backs this franchise has had, I can’t come up with another player who possesses the same type of skills as Bush. Some ran as well. Some caught as well. But none had the mixture, coupled with the speed and quickness, that makes Bush so unusual.

For much of last Sunday’s game, the Redskins did a good job on Bush. The yards came hard. But the thing about Bush you’ve got to like is that it just takes one run, one play, to make a difference. Keep feeding him the ball and sooner or later something special will happen.

It is a credit to Bush that he didn’t get frustrated earlier this season, that the losses didn’t affect his mindset and that he remained confident in his new team, his new teammates and his new coaches.

“Success,” he said. “don’t come easy.”

But when it does come, when everything feels just right, this player can make a significant difference in every game he plays. We saw that against Kansas City. We saw it Sunday against the Redskins. And you get the feeling that we’re going to see it Sunday against the Bills as well.

Yes, Reggie Bush is starting to find another gear and the Dolphins are a much better football team because of it.
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