The Rising Of Reggie Bush?

Bleacher ReportAnalyst ISeptember 12, 2008

If you are a Saints fan or an NFL fan in general, then you will remember the most memorable moment of the 2006 NFL Draft, "With the first overall pick of the NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select...Mario Williams."

With that one announcement, the clouds that had been hanging over the city of New Orleans parted and somebody fell down from the sky, he was wearing #5 and called himself Reggie Bush, tailback for the USC Trojans. After we changed his shirt to include a fleur-de-lis on it, along with a new number, he called himself, Reggie Bush, running back for the Black and Gold (or New Orleans Saints, whichever you prefer).

That previous year, the Saints had played through a toturous 3-13 season. While New Orleans residents crashed at the Superdome, they practiced in grocery store parking lots and used a tent as their weight room. They played their "home" games in various places, including Tigers Stadium in Baton Rouge, home of the LSU "Fighting" Tigers all because of a hurricane called Katrina. You may have heard about it, it only flooded about 80% of the city leaving thousands homeless and hundreds killed?

Well anyway, when that season was over and we were assured that the Saints were still going to be the New Orleans Saints and not the San Antonio Saints, we sat back to watch and see what Saints' management would do.

First, they brought it Sean Payton. Fresh into New Orleans after leaving from the Bill Parcells regime in Dallas, then they passed on Daunte Culpepper (now retired) and signed another injured quarterback, Drew Brees who had been released by San Diego. They also signed multiple other free agents.

Then it was time for the NFL Draft. Many draft experts expected Reggie to be the first overall pick and they expected to see him running for touchdowns in Reliant Stadium with longhorns on his helmet and the Lone Star flapping quietly above. Instead, he ended up in New Orleans. Moldy, devastated New Orleans. The Superdome wasn't ready, but it was supposed to be ready for the Monday Night Game against the Falcons but nothing was sure yet.

New head coach, injured quarterback, Duece coming back from major knee surgery, most of the team rebuilt, nobody had any idea of what the Saints would do that year. They only went 10-6 and boldly went where no Saints team had ever been before: the NFC Championship Game (where they suffered a horrible lost to Chicago but that's old news now so who cares?). Reggie had a great year and many fans expected to see more in 2007-08.

They didn't.

Reggie performed horribly after he was named the starter in Duece McAllister's place after Duece went down in the Monday night home opener against the Titans. Later in the season, Reggie also suffered an injury so Aaron Stecker and Pierre Thomas had to step up for #25.

But this year, Reggie stayed in New Orleans to work out with the team instead of going to California like he did last year. He performed great in the preseason and doesn't seem to be doing as much east-west style running any more. In the game against Tampa Bay, he had a one-handed grab which he took into the end zone, a gain of over 40 yards.

It seems as if talk of this being a make or break year for Reggie has spurred him to make more plays, but will this be his breakout year? We'll have to wait and find out.