Miami Dolphins' running back Reggie Bush spent the majority of his career as an explosive third-down back with the New Orleans Saints, but was viewed as not having the qualities of an every-down NFL running back.
Bush has proven everyone wrong in Miami.
Before the 2012 NFL season kicked off, Bush said in a television interview (via USAToday.com) that he wanted to lead the NFL in rushing this season.
So far, so good.
The claim was not so outlandish considering Bush ran for 1,086 yards and six touchdowns last year. The NFL's leading rusher last season ended up being Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who rushed for 1,606 yards and eight touchdowns.
Interestingly enough, the Dolphins organization also believed Bush could put up massive numbers, which is why they brought him in, according to running backs coach Jeff Nixon (via USAToday.com):
I watched him while he was with the New Orleans Saints, and I always felt if he got an opportunity to try to carry the load he would do well. So when we (acquired) him I was very excited, and I told him one of my goals for him was to be a 1,000-yard rusher, be a Pro Bowl-type player and be a top-10 running back in the league.
Before the 2012 season, it would have been easy to laugh off Bush's prediction, but if the first two games of the season are any indication, he has a legitimate shot contending for the rushing title.
In the Dolphins' first two games against the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders, Bush rushed for a total of 241 yards and two touchdowns. Miami not only ended up winning the game against Oakland, but if its starting tailback continues to play at this level, the Dolphins could go on an unexpected run.
Bush proved last year that he can be an every-down back, and this year he is going to be the focal point of the offense assuming the team continues to allow its rookie quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, to command the offense.
When it comes to Bush's competition for the rushing title, only a few running backs come to mind. Jones-Drew was a holdout, Chris Johnson is a nobody, Adrian Peterson is recovering from an injury, Darren McFadden has yet to stay healthy, etc.
Bush right now has a lead on all of the big names in the NFL. Unless a new face comes out of nowhere to compete for the title, Bush has to be one of the top candidates in 2012, if he can stay healthy.
With the number of carries Bush will likely be getting—combined with his outstanding skill set—his prediction of leading the league in rushing is suddenly not so ridiculous.
Bush is off to a hot start, and this may be just the beginning of a rushing-title season.
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