In his first five NFL seasons Reggie Bush showed little of the success he had as a college back and looked poised to become yet another bust, until a change of scenery rejuvinated his career.
Coming out of college the former USC Trojan generated a lot of excitement throughout the league, leading many to believe that Bush would be selected 1st overall by the Houston Texans in the 2006 NFL Draft. As it turns out the Texans made the right decision, passing on Bush and opting to draft defensive end Mario Williams who has tallied 53 sacks in a mere six seasons. However Bush didn’t wait long to hear his name called, the New Orleans Saints made him the No. 2 overall pick. Once considered an elite featured back, Bush did not live up to expectations in the black and gold in large part due to the fact that he couldn’t remain healthy for a full 16 game schedule.
This all changed once the Miami Dolphins took a chance of him. After losing their long time running back duo of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams in free agency, the Dolphins needed someone to fill the void and were intrigued by Bush’s overall skill set not only on the ground but also in the passing game. In his first year in South Beach, Bush competed with Daniel Thomas for the starting role. Although the Dolphins coveted Thomas, trading up to the second round to draft him out of Kansas State, Bush easily won the job.
The first seven weeks of the 2011 campaign were a nightmare for the Dolphins as they were out to a dreaded 0-6 start while it was more of the same from Reggie Bush. It wasn’t until week 8 that Bush’s full potenial was finally on display, surpassing 100 yards in a game for the first time in over a year and leading the Dolphins to a near upset win over the eventual Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. This was just the start of a memorable year for Bush.
By the end of the season Reggie Bush proved all the doubters wrong. He eclipsed the 1000 yard rushing mark for the first time in his career, finishing with 1,086 rushing yards while reaching the endzone six times along with 296 recieving yards and one touchdown. Perhaps the most crucial stat was the 15 games Bush played in, showing that his durabilty is no longer a concern.
With all the buzz surrounding the the Dolphins quarterback competition and the recent decision to start rookie Ryan Tannehill, Bush has flown under the radar. That is until he publicly stated that he plans on leading the NFL in rushing this year. “I believe in setting the highest goals possible” said Bush, “If you’re not setting the highest standards for yourself, then you don’t belong in this game.”
While Bush winning the rushing title remains a long shot his comments don’t come as a surprise seeing as this should be the goal of every NFL running back. Reggie’s comments have seemingly motivated Daniel Thomas as well who has made it clear that he’s fine with Bush leading the league in rushing as long as he gets his 1000 yards.
After only reaching 581 yards on the gound a year ago, Thomas still has some work to do however the Dolphins running backs certainly have the right mindset heading into the 2012 campaign and the confidence needed to succeed.