Friday, August 7, 2009

New Orleans Sports Scuttlebutt 8-7-09

Posted By on Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 11:11 PM

You can say what you‘d like, but whenever number 25 touches the ball, players, coaches, and fans alike are all collectively holding their breathe in anticipation. Reggie Bush is a rarity,  criticized for his toughness(or lack there of), yet he is undeniably one of the most dynamic and versatile play-makers the NFL has to offer.

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Unfortunately though,  the past two seasons have produced more sighs of antipathy than scrapbook memories. The number two overall pick in the ’06 draft, Bush was billed as the savior of a team that won only three games the year before- in addition to a conglomerate of talent, synergized by the dealings of Mickey Loomis, the coaching of Sean Payton, and the arm of Drew Brees, you could say he was.

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The’05 Heisman trophy winner, Bush has since been hobbled by several  knee injuries. His rookie season was like a fairytale. The “SoCal kid ”quickly rocketed his way into the American lexicon. Bush was a household name, and his approval rating was at an all-time high-but that was with a healthy Deuce McAllister as his running-mate.

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In ’06, when McAllister was still considered the featured back, Bush had his best overall year with over thirteen-hundred yards from scrimmage. But since McAllister’s decline and eventual departure, Bush’s numbers have been underwhelming to say the least, and the subsequent weight that comes with being a full time back, has manifested itself in injury after injury.

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Still, with a player like Bush, numbers don‘t tell the whole story. Bush is a hybrid- one part running back, one part receiver, equal parts amazing. His impact is only as effective as the system that he’s placed in. The recent trend in the NFL has been to have a corps of specialized backs, who are ideal in certain situations-like the ‘07  champions the New York Giants. Their three headed monster( Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Derrick Ward) was the archetype for what will become commonplace in years to come.

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As for Bush and the Saints, they’re holding open auditions for the third back to complete their trio. Entering his third season Pierre Thomas has been a pleasant surprise for New Orleans, but if the Saints have learned anything from last year’s short yardage blunders, its that they still don’t have that essential blend of ”thunder and lightening.”

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So far, second year Saint Mike Bell seems to be at the forefront of a cast of hungry young upstarts. Whoever rounds out the group will be singing backup to Bush and Thomas, who’ll be headlining the ‘09 tour. But if the Saints can get even a little production out of  their third string running back, extending Bush’s season and freeing him up to improvise and “do his thing,” then the Saints may be able to orchestrate a masterpiece of a season.

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