A year ago, the decision was made to utilize Bush as the every down back in the base offense and that way of thinking helped produce a memorable 1,086-yard rushing season. But, in truth, there weren’t that many game-changing plays from this game-changing player, a 76-yard run at Buffalo the only glaring example.
But times are different now. The decision-makers are different. Philbin and his staff are all about producing big plays, momentum turning moments. They are about exploiting mismatches and getting their playmakers the ball in the open field. All you’ve got to do is look at Philbin’s Green Bay resume to understand the priority he places on one-on-one matchups, especially when it comes to players with extra ordinary gifts.
This is where Bush comes in. While I fully expect him to receive more carries than any other back on the roster, I also expect a whole lot more creativity. Bush is a big play waiting to happen. You can’t ignore that. He is in the prime of his career. You can’t ignore that either.
Philbin has in his mind a specific number of touches he would like to see Bush get during the course of the game. But I expect those touches to be different than a season ago. I expect to see plays designed to get Bush the ball outside the comfort of the backfield. Maybe in the flat. Maybe one-on-one downfield. Maybe on reverses.
When you look at the players Philbin has coached in Green Bay, you really can’t find one with Bush’s unique set of talents. That’s why you get that interesting look in Philbin’s eyes when you mention Bush and his talents.
“We’re working on a plan,” Philbin said. “We realize Reggie has an impressive set of skills.”
So there Bush was in the first week of training camp, learning a new offense, setting an example and, in some regard, waiting to see how it all unfolds.
“It’s a spread open, fast paced, up tempo offense,” Bush said. “We run a lot of zone schemes, which for a running back like me is great. It’s really all about creating mismatches and getting guys the ball in space and getting playmakers the ball.”
And when it comes to playmakers, nobody on this roster quite compares to Reggie Bush. Nothing Philbin and his staff comes up with will surprise me. I’m expecting to see Bush lined up wide. I wouldn’t be shocked if he returned some punts. And, yes, he’ll get a few carries up the gut of the defense, just not as many as last season.
Bush wants to lead the league in rushing. “I believe in setting the highest goals possible,” he said. “If you’re not setting the highest standards for yourself, then you don’t belong in this game.”
I expect the Dolphins to be a passing team far more than they have in the past decade or so. I also expect a steady diet of the hurry-up, no huddle offense. All of that, despite his desire to lead the league in rushing, fits perfectly with Bush’s numerous talents.
There was so much uncertainly surrounding this player when the Dolphins got him from New Orleans prior to last season. But if we learned anything about Reggie Bush after watching him through the 2011 season it is that he remains one of the premier multi-purpose talents in this league and that there is no reason to expect him to do anything other than continue to prosper under a new coaching staff.
The Dolphins brought in some more playmakers this offseason to take some of the burden off of Bush, and this will do nothing but help. Imagine Bush and rookie
And I’ll take that matchup every time.
It was an interesting offseason for Reggie Bush. There was a television appearance on Live with Kelly! There was a lot of travelling, plenty of promotions and some early taste of what his post football career might be like.
But that can now all wait. Reggie Bush is foremost a football player and he still has a lot he wants to accomplish. There is a new coaching staff, a new offense and with it comes plenty of new possibilities.
It is late morning on the first week of training camp. Reggie Bush just got done running extra sprints. His face is filled with sweat. Fans are screaming for an autograph. He is slowly walking off the field after a 10-minute mass interview. For a moment, he stops and just smiles.
“This is where I want to be,” he said, “and what I want to be doing.”