When former Oakland Raiders coach Tom Cable was let go at the end of the 2010 regular season, there was a sense among some Raiders players that Michael Bush had lost a close ally and therefore, his days in Oakland would be numbered.
As a four-year player, Bush is set to hit the open market as a restricted free agent and my not have the opportunities he wants as a feature tailback but he will get paid. A month ago, Bush was thought to be among those players that was least satisfied with the coaching change in Oakland. All-Pro punter Shane Lechler went on record saying the bruising running back was all but gone.
"I've already had a couple of players call me and say, 'What's going on? We thought he was going to be back,' “Lechler said. “What it does is it's going to influence a lot of guys' decision on free agency. You're going to lose Michael Bush now, for sure. You're going to lose a bunch of guys that are great football players, and just because of this move."
Yet during Hue Jackson’s epic press conference, Al Davis found a way to respond—as only Al Davis can. "The halfback, McFadden and Bush," Davis said, "complement each other tremendously with explosion ..."
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"Bush brings that toughness to the secondary, I don't want to challenge certain teams in this league but by the third and fourth quarter, they don't want to tackle Bush in the secondary. They just don't want him. He's 250 pounds, power, speed, so that's a plus for us."
However, keeping this tandem together could be costly for Davis—but with McFadden’s history of injury, it seems almost mandatory that Davis give Bush what he wants contractually to solidify the Raiders' backfield.
These statements by the owner have to bring a smile to Bush—who rushed for 655 yards and scored eight touchdowns in 2010. However, if the Raiders drop the ball here, there will be several interested teams that are ready to pounce.
Denver - John Fox would be interested in pairing Knowshon Moreno and Bush together, forming a similar backfield to what he had in Carolina. Thus, continuing his old schemes, as opposed to trying to building around Josh McDaniel’s spread offense.
San Francisco – With Frank Gore on the trading block, bringing in a runner of Bush’s caliber would be a good fit for the Niners young offensive line. San Francisco’s season fell apart when Gore was sidelined with a hip injury.
Where will Michael Bush be playing in 2011
Washington – Daniel Snyder wouldn’t be afraid of throwing big money at Bush in hopes of improving the Redskins third-worst rushing attack. Although, running back Ryan Torain played well when given the opportunity.
Indianapolis – Joseph Addai’s days in a Colts uniform seemed to be numbered. Addai played in just eight games in 2010 and rushed for a mere 495 yards. Back-up Dominic Rhodes is not the long-term answer, so it’s conceivable that Bush could be on Bill Polian’s radar.
Buffalo – The Bills have a sensational rookie in C.J. Spiller, but traded away bruising tailback Marshawn Lynch. The Bills finished the season as the No. 18 ranked rush offense but the team brought in journeyman Quinton Ganther to try and fill the void left by Lynch. Adding Bush would give the Bills that thunder and lighting attack everyone in the league seems to desire.