Breaking Down Reggie Bush Heading into Free Agency

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Breaking Down Reggie Bush Heading into Free Agency
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Reggie Bush hasn't lived up to his collegiate hype and lofty draft status, but he's still one of the most physically gifted speed backs in the NFL

He'll hit free agency on Tuesday, and after stints in New Orleans with the Saints and Miami with the Dolphins, the 28-year-old running back with plenty of valuable football left, will be a relatively hot commodity on the open market, especially for teams looking to add a dynamic pass-catcher out of the backfield. 

After the Miami Herald reported Bush wouldn't be back with the Dolphins, now's the appropriate time to break down what Bush brings to the field as he enters his eighth professional season. 

 

The "Reggie Bush" Route

There probably isn't a running back in the NFL who's more devastating running the option route out of the backfield than Reggie Bush. 

Early in a Week 5 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Bush harmlessly slipped out of the backfield after lining up next to quarterback Ryan Tannehill in a shotgun formation. 

With the field spread, Bush ran directly at outside linebacker Manny Lawson and made a sudden move to the outside. 

Instantly, Bush cut back inside and found himself wide open down the seam. 

The result? 

A 21-yard gain. 

In a spread offense, Bush can absolutely wreak havoc out of the backfield in space with linebackers in coverage.

 

Between the Tackles Running 

Bush can't run between the tackles, right? 

Wrong. 

Kind of. 

According to ProFootballFocus (subscription required), he averaged 4.7 yards per carry behind the left guard, 4.1 yards per carry up the middle and 3.9 yards per carry behind the right guard in 2012. 

No, those aren't explosive numbers, but they certainly dispel the notion that Bush is incapable of being productive between the tackles. 

 

Upside 

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Bush isn't feature back material—he knows that, and the team that ultimately acquires him knows that. He's averaged slightly over 138 carries in his seven-year career and a whopping 53 catches. 

He caught 161 total passes in his fist two seasons with the Saints, but in an attempt to make him into a more complete back, his reception total decreased nearly every year since, and he only hauled in 35 passes in 2012. 

Simply put, Bush isn't a worn-down back, and he has stayed in great shape as a professional. Although he dealt with some injuries during his time in New Orleans, he only missed one game over the past two years with the Dolphins.

 

Conclusion

Bush is a dangerous running back with a pass-catching specialty. He isn't precisely a home-run hitter, but he's remarkable in the open field and possesses devastating lateral agility. On a team that employs a spread offense, Reggie Bush could flourish in a novelty niche.

 

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