Another thing that is curious is why Bush ran for over 1,000 yards in his first season with the Miami Dolphins after never getting over 600 in five years with the Saints. Why was Reggie able to run for six touchdowns and average 5.0 yards a carry in Miami, when he was nowhere near as successful with the Saints?
Why has Sproles been able to run all over defenses in the role that was built for Reggie? These players are oddly similar, yet both have done things this year that Bush was never able to do in New Orleans.
Why is that?
The answer is quite simple really. Bush is more of a prototypical, feature back than the Saints ever thought he would be. That statement seems to be a paradox in itself because how is a 6'0", 203 pound running back prototypical?
Bush is a great back out of the backfield, but he is better at running between the tackles and carrying the ball 15-20 times a game, and he proved that in 2011. He had the best season of his six-year career, by far. Bush ran the ball 216 times for 1,086 yards and six touchdowns.
He averaged a whopping 5.0 yards a carry, which is better than Maurice Jones-Drew, Arian Foster, Ray Rice, Michael Turner, LeSean McCoy and every other top 10 running back in 2011.
Sproles, on the other hand, broke the record for all-purpose yards by playing great in the rushing, passing, and return games. He was able to do everything and more that Reggie was supposed to do while a Saint. Sproles finished the 2011 season with 2,696 all-purpose yards and 10 total touchdowns.
Sproles is the definition of a scat back. He can run the ball well, catch it well and is dangerous when returning kicks. However, Bush is different because he is at his best when he is carrying the ball up the middle, obviously.
I believe that the Saints tried to turn Bush into something that he wasn't. They tried to take advantage of his amazing speed and great hands while he was in New Orleans. He struggled in the running game because New Orleans was not committed to it, and also because the Saints did not see Reggie as a true running back.
Miami, on the other hand, gave Reggie a chance to perform as a feature back and he came through. Sproles was given the same role as Bush and he did better in it because, well, that is the type of thing that Sproles is best at.
Sproles has done better for the Saints than Reggie ever did because Reggie was never meant to be in that type of role. We will see how Bush's career in Miami plays out, but I strongly believe that he will have multiple 1,000 yard seasons down the road and could lead the Dolphins to some winning seasons in the near future.
The Saints will continue to use Sproles in the same way and he will continue to succeed in that role. He will run the ball, catch the ball and return the ball with excellence.
Both Sproles and Bush are great players, but they are different players. Despite the comparisons, these two backs are meant for separate roles, and they each proved that in 2011.