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Bush Quietly Producing In All Facets

Posted Dec 14, 2012

Versatile running back proves difficult to defend.



After an explosive start to the season, Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush has survived the ups and downs of his team’s campaign and finds himself on the cusp of his second straight 1,000-yard season.

Prior to joining the Dolphins, there were plenty of doubters as to Bush’s durability and future as a primary ball carrier because he had never been asked to do that with the New Orleans Saints. When last season came to an end and he had compiled 1,086 yards on the ground, it appeared as those questions had been answered, but that is not Bush’s priority.

“Those are the types of things that I really don’t think about,” said Bush, who has rushed for 791 yards and five touchdowns on 179 carries this season. “Obviously, rushing for 1,000 yards, I think it says that I’m durable and I can run between the tackles and carry the load. But for the most part, my mentality is just how I can help this team win.”

All Bush needs is 110 yards over the final three games to have back-to-back seasons of more than 1,000 rushing yards and he’s already over 1,000 all-purpose yards. His 29 catches for 227 yards rank him fourth on the team behind wide receivers Brian Hartline and Davone Bess and tight end Anthony Fasano.

Head Coach Joe Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman have relied on Bush to be a mentor to young running backs Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller and to be a leader in the locker room and on the field. That’s the role the former Heisman Trophy winner seems to really have embraced, and it has not been lost on the coaching staff.

“He’s a real professional as I’ve stated before. I like the way he goes about his business,” Philbin said. “He’s serious about what he does in the building, on the practice field, in the weight room. He takes care of his business well. Obviously, he’s made a valuable contribution on the field and I think he’s a guy that young guys look up to. He’s a good example for the younger players.”

Last season Bush finished real strong, averaging 5.0 yards per carry and surpassing 100 rushing yards in each his last four games (he was inactive against the Jets in the season finale with a knee injury). His combined total over those four games was 519 yards or almost half of what he had gained in the first 11 games.

Miami went 6-3 down the stretch and starting with Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars is hoping to reverse its current trend of five losses in the last six games. Bush’s numbers, combined with those being put up by Hartline (925 receiving yards) and rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill (2,709 passing yards) are encouraging signs according to Bush of the potential of this Dolphins team.

“It says that we’ve got the playmakers necessary to make the plays, it’s just a lot of the games that we’ve lost we’ve been in up until the fourth quarter,” Bush said. “It’s just really about the playmakers being able to make the necessary plays to help us win a game down the stretch. I think it just says that we were productive but those last five or six minutes are kind of what got us beat.”

Last week’s 27-13 loss at San Francisco actually featured one of Bush’s best all-around performances as he not only was the leading rusher in the game with 65 yards on 14 carries, but he also caught five passes for 38 yards. Sherman lined up in the slot and out wide a few times to create some mismatches and that balance is what Bush likes to show.

“I thought it was one of the most complete games I think I’ve had here this season,” Bush said. “Just catching the ball and running the ball between the tackles and getting some first downs, some key first downs when we needed it and making plays when we needed it, that felt good to get done.”

He’ll have another chance to showcase those skills against the league’s 31st-ranked run defense and 31st-ranked pass defense at Sun Life Stadium on Sunday.