Sunday, January 31, 2010

Has Reggie Bush Finally Arrived?

One thing I have always found odd about sports is how a player can redefine their career with 1 game. A guy can go 6 years without being anything special, turn around and have 1 good season and become a "great player." You see it year after year in every sport.

Right now the guy that is going through a career rebirth is Reggie Bush.

Bush was drafted 2nd overall in 2006 by the New Orleans Saints and was supposed to be the next great running back in the NFL. The player that would revolutionize the game. So far in his career he has been anything but.

In 4 seasons with the Saints he has never topped more than 600 rushing yards and his receiving numbers have gone down every year he has been in the league. He did a decent job returning punts but he had fumble issues and never seemed to have everything click. Needless to say he was headed towards being a "bust."

Then the 2010 AFC Divisional game against the Arizona Cardinals happened and all was forgotten. In that game Bush had 5 carries for 84 yards (including a 46 yard TD run) and also scored on a punt return. Reggie had finally arrived.

No one was pointing out that the Cardinals were one of the worst defensive teams in the league, were giving up 455 yards per game in the playoffs, and couldn't stop Vince Howard and the East Dillon Lions. Instead everyone focused on Bush and how he had "finally lived up to the hype" and had "become the player everyone thought he would be when he was drafted."

With 1 game Bush had made everyone forget his mediocre career.

The analysts were shitting themselves as they had waited for this moment for 4 years. Finally they could gush about how great Reggie Bush was. They could finally tell all their Reggie Bush stories and make all their comparisons to Barry Sanders and Marshall Faulk. The comparisons were rampant and finally reached the point of lunacy 10 days ago.

Going into the NFC Championship game a debate started with the central question being, "who would you rather have: Reggie Bush or Adrian Peterson?" This was no joke. People were legitimately arguing who was a better running back in a 1 game scenario. It was even discussed on PTI. How is this even a question?

Reggie Bush has rushed for 1,940 in 4 seasons. It took Peterson less than 2 seasons to accomplish this feat and he now stands at 4,484 yards for his career. In terms of touchdowns Peterson has 41 for his career where as Bush has 28. Clearly Peterson is a superior running back who has showed that he can maintain playing at an elite level for a whole season where as Bush showed he could do it for 1 game against an inferior defensive team.

Peterson is the most important player on his team and the focal point of the Vikings offense where as Bush is the 5th or 6th best player on the Saints offense and is merely a cog in the high powered Saints offensive machine.

In the game itself Peterson fumbled twice but had 122 yards and scored 3 touchdowns while Bush fumbled a punt, scored a receiving touchdown and ran for 8 yards on 7 carries. So while Peterson had trouble holding on to the ball (while this was a contributing factor in the loss the Favre pick ultimately cost the Vikings the game) he clearly showed he is the better running back.

Now I understand that the media needs to create story lines to make the games more interesting but conjuring a useless debate like this is preposterous.

Don't get me wrong I am a Reggie Bush fan. I think he has tonnes of talent and is a perfect fit for the Saints offense but in no way do I think he has pulled a 180 on his career. He is still the same player as always, as he proved when he muffed that punt against the Vikings last week, and unless he makes some sort of major change to his game he will continue to be the same player.

The problem with Bush is that he doesn't fit the mold of any position in the field. Yes he can run but he isn't really a running back. He can catch but he isn't really a receiver. He is a man without a country. He is a Jack of all trades but master of none.

So what will the Saints do now? Bush still has 2 years left on his current contract but all signs point to him leaving before the deal expires. The Saints could trade him while has value is high but then he very well might become what they hoped he would become when they drafted him.

If Bush can have a big impact in the SuperBowl he might very well make everyone believe that he has in fact arrived. Until he shows me that he can be an effective weapon on a consistent basis against teams that don't have a suspect defense I will remain unwavering in my opinion that he is just another player that does well in a Sean Payton offense.

Random YouTube Video

No comments: