Reggie Bush: Statistically One of the Worst Running Backs in the NFL

Ari HoringSenior Analyst IAugust 8, 2008

I can give so many examples, ranging from Joey Harrington to Rex Grossman. But for me, Reggie Bush is the one who gets the biggest pass.

While guys like Harrington and Grossman had great college years, none of them had near the hype that was built up for Reggie Bush's career.

The media and all the experts expected Reggie Bush to be one of the greatest of all time. The media can't face the fact that they were wrong and are always making excuses for him and making him seem like he is doing better than he is.

The reason I feel the need to talk about him is because Reggie Bush isn't just a guy who isn't living up to the hype, he is a guy who just simply isn't a good running back.

Reggie Bush, the supposed explosive back, had only two runs over 20 yards last season, with his longest being 22 yards. Now it's not as if Bush is a power back. Bush is supposed to be the guy breaking long runs like he did in college.

Not only does Bush not have big runs, he doesn’t have big games. There were two running backs on the Saints that had 100 yard rushing games last season and neither of them were Reggie Bush.

Pierre Thomas had 105 yards in week 17 in his only start of the season. Aaron Stecker had 100 yards in week 14 in his first of his three starts last season. Both Stecker and Thomas were undrafted. Two undrafted players had 100 yard rushing games while Reggie Bush, the No. 2 pick, didn’t have one.

Bush averaged 3.7 yards per carry, while three other running backs on his team had higher averages than him. If you compare Bush’s stats to Stecker's, you can see that Stecker was a more productive player when he played.

Bush had six touchdowns (two receiving) on 157 rushing attempts and 73 receptions, while Stecker had five touchdowns on 115 carries and 36 receptions.

Stecker had one fewer touchdown on 79 fewer touches, not to mention Stecker wasn't given many goal line attempts until Bush got injured late in the season. My point is that Bush not only fails to explode for big runs and big games, but he also has trouble getting in the end zone. What good running back has trouble getting in the end zone?

Even though Bush’s stats aren’t very good, the one thing that bothers me the most about Bush is that he led the league with eight fumbles in only 12 games. He not only isn't performing well, but he is also hurting his team by constantly fumbling. If you’re not going to play very well, you should at least hold on to the ball.

Now if you’re one of those people who wants to claim that even though he might not be running very well, he is a valuable receiver, just realize that a running back on his own team has very similar receiving stats. Aaron Stecker had 36 receptions for 211 yards, while bush had 73 receptions for 417 yards. Stecker ended up with a higher average with 5.9 yards per reception to Bush's 5.7.

Stecker, who wasn't even drafted, is doing just as well at catching balls out of the backfield as Bush, if not better. Yes, Bush is a good receiver, but there are many third down running backs in the NFL that are good receivers. Stecker not only has better receiving and rushing averages, he had only one fumble on the season to Bush's eight.

But this year who is the one getting all the hype and playing time? It's Reggie Bush, because he was the No. 2 pick and Stecker wasn't even drafted. There are many cases in the NFL where the best player doesn't always play because the player in front of him makes more money and was a higher draft pick.

Now this article isn't saying Stecker should be the starting running back because quite frankly, when Deuce McAllister is healthy he is a top-five running back in the league. Some of you might be thinking that I'm being too hard on Bush. I mean, the man had has only played two seasons and I should probably give him some slack.

But should I? Look at a guy like Adrian Peterson. Running backs don't need time to develop as much as other positions do. Since 1967, when the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year first started, 31 out of the 40 players chosen have been running backs.

Now if you're one of those people that was misled by the media the year the Saints went to the NFC championship game and want to claim that Bush had a good rookie year, look at the stats. In his rookie year Bush's longest run was 18 yards. He had one 100 yard game with his next best being 67 yards.

He averaged 3.6 yard per carry, while McAllister averaged 4.3 and had five runs of over 20 yards, with three of them being over 30. Yes, Bush had eight touchdowns in the regular season, but he had four in one game, and all were near the goal line. So he only scored a touchdown in four games that season.

Yet during the Saints' run to the NFC championship game, he got all of the headlines. He wasn't even the best running back or the best rookie on his team. Deuce McAllister and Marques Colston had those titles.

Now I'm not trying to say that Bush doesn't work hard or play hard. The guy wants to be great. However, sometimes you've just got to call it what it is. Most of the media and experts were wrong. Bush isn't a great back.

What makes me sad is that he's not even a good back. He dances in the backfield and doesn't run through the tackles hard, and without all those huge holes that his great USC line opened up for him, he just can't get the job done.

Now if Bush has a great season next year, I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong about him. But as of right now, he is simply just a great college player. I will always respect him for that, but he's just not a very good NFL player.