Reggie Bush: Where Could Saints RB Land This Season?
The New Orleans Saints weren't happy that they missed out on repeating as Super Bowl champions last year. So to fix the problem, owners Tom Benson and Rita Benson LeBlanc put their heads together, and decided to draft Alabama's Mark Ingram in the first round.
It's hard to call the Saints' selection a reach. After all, New Orleans' run game ran stale last season as it ranked 28th in rush yards. However, perhaps head coach Sean Payton has sent current starting running back Reggie Bush a subtle message in regards to his future.
As speculation has been running rampant about Bush's future, I expect most of you have been daydreaming about a possible landing spot.
Open the floodgates.
Bush is on the loose.
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I think everyone can agree that the Cincinnati Bengals look a lot better on paper now than they did a week ago. Head coach Marvin Lewis has ignored the criticism swirling throughout the nation, and after drafting wide receiver A.J Green and quarterback Andy Dalton in the opening rounds, suddenly Cincinnati looks very bright behind the ball.
But like the Saints, the Bengals are going through a rebuilding process of tossing out the old and bringing in the new. Carson Palmer looks to be as good as gone next season, and even though nothing has erupted just yet, the Bengals offense looks extremely young aside from Chad Ochocinco.
So that's where Reggie Bush could come in.
The Bengals running game is far from awful, don't get me wrong. Cedric Benson posted 1,111 yards last season along with seven touchdowns, and continues to fly under the radar with many other runners in the NFL.
Still, the Bengals could benefit a lot from the one-two punch the Saints featured three years ago. Benson has become a firm goal line running back, scoring his total seven touchdowns in the red zone last season.
Bush on the other hand could be used in midfield play, even though his power and strength is up for debate after suffering a knee injury in 2010.
The Bengals offense wasn't the teams number one problem last season—dropped balls and inconsistency was. With Terrell Owens' future also up in the air, it looks as if Cincinnati is comfortable with relying on young guns to get the job done.
Bush is an asset, despite people's opinions.
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The Denver Broncos are no easy pick right now, as new head coach John Fox has many questions to answer ahead of what could very well be a problematic 2011 season.
Firstly, Denver is still unsure of who will start at quarterback. I was one of the few people who stood up for Kyle Orton last season, a quarterback who would have been considered an MVP candidate if the Broncos hadn't gone 4-12 last year.
Secondly, the Broncos ignored many glaring offensive problems in this year's draft. Tight end Julius Thomas was taken in the late rounds, while owner Pat Bowlen paid specific attention to the defense when drafting linebacker Von Miller in the first round.
And thirdly, Denver are still short of a decent running back. Just like in Cincinnati's situation, lead back Knowshon Moreno got the job done with five touchdowns to his name last year, but if he falls injured, the laughably bad Lawrence Maroney fills in as a result.
That ain't good for business.
So is Reggie Bush an option?
Yes, in the fact that he will offer the Broncos some security. No, in the fact that he may not be a long-term answer.
Luckily the Broncos have a head coach who knows the NFC South well. Therefore, John Fox can write his own scouting report on Bush if he sees fit. But if Denver is to ever escape its problems in the AFC West, a serious ground game is needed.
Bush can provide that, although he may not be the kind of runner Denver is looking for.
New Orleans Saints
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You wouldn't know it by looking at Reggie Bush's Twitter account, but there's a firm chance he winds up staying in New Orleans for the time being.
I guess the biggest problem for the Saints is simple: How do they get rid of Reggie?
The most likely option is to cut him, as it would leave New Orleans with just under $13 million in hand if they do. Still, the problem here is league interest—if Bush fails to sign anywhere else, the Saints will be faced with a huge salary cap pay-out in return.
Aside from money, though, Bush still has much to prove in The Big Easy. Since being drafted in 2006, he's been ridiculed and laughed at for his poor transition to the NFL, leaving Pierre Thomas as the firm favorite in New Orleans even after playing in only a handful of games last season.
Perhaps the best way to solve this issue is to wait and see. Maybe Bush and Mark Ingram can coexist in New Orleans, especially since the two differ immensely in terms of style and prowess on the field.
Saints fans, look at it this way: You still have two very capable running backs. If Bush stays, Ingram could very well become the next Deuce McAllister, forming yet another two-headed attack for the years to come.
Both the Saints and Bush are far from seeing eye to eye on this whole saga, and it is likely to blow up sometime soon. If the lockout lingers, though, Bush may stick with New Orleans for safety until a new CBA is announced.
San Diego Chargers
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God bless owner Alex Spanos, he's tried his best to fill the void LaDainian Tomlinson left this time last year, but somehow the Chargers can't seem to land the right running back on offense, as San Diego yet again selected a young runner in this year's draft.
Right now the Chargers have eight running backs on their roster. Several are no-names who are unlikely to start anytime soon, while San Diego's first round pick in 2010, Ryan Mathews, still has a lot to prove under head coach Norv Turner.
But in regards to Reggie Bush, the Chargers are by far the most fitting pick, and here's why:
Obviously, Bush played college football at USC. One would expect him to still be familiar with a West Coast style offense, and after finishing with 6,541 all-purpose yards at USC, Bush would be an easy fit in San Diego if Turner took a hard look at him.
However, Bush brings much more than what we sometimes think. One aspect lacking in the Chargers' game lately has been a running back who can receive the ball, especially since Tomlinson strayed to New York.
Bush hasn't always been known to make plays happen in the receiving game, but he does have a very capable set of hands, and a small enough stature to make defenders miss in the open field.
Last season the Chargers were stellar in just about every area of the game, making it even more unbelievable as to how they missed out on the postseason entirely. Nevertheless, adding a running back like Bush could give San Diego a much-needed edge, or at the very least, another target for Philip Rivers.
It's hard to rely on Mathews just yet. It is also hard to predict Darren Sproles' future after putting just 267 yards on the board last season. Bush knows the West Coast, so will someone please send Norv Turner the memo.
San Francisco 49ers
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The San Francisco 49ers benefited immensely from last weekend's trade, gaining quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the second round to act as a safety net should Alex Smith completely go belly up.
Then again, things aren't entirely peachy in San Francisco. Running back Frank Gore awaits an uncertain future after falling off track last season, leaving backup Anthony Dixon with an open window of opportunity in 2011.
Similar to the Chargers, Bush suits San Francisco's offense. The 49ers are still a very young team offensively, but right now head coach Jim Harbaugh is without a reliable running back who can also offer some speed and agility.
Reggie Bush to San Francisco does make sense. He knows the West Coast offense well, but one has to wonder how Bush would fare under an inexperienced quarterback like Smith. If anything, Drew Brees has been kind to Bush in New Orleans—while a system run by a rookie such as Kaepernick could prove to be interesting.
It is highly likely that Harbaugh does take a glimpse at Bush should he become available, but as a new head coach taking over from Mike Singletary, Harbaugh seems intent on reversing the 49ers' bad luck by bringing in a new group of young players.
Bush to San Francisco?
Possibly. It is hard to see Harbaugh overlooking his faults, though.
St. Louis Rams
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It's been an impressive 12 months for the St. Louis Rams, as owner Stan Kroenke continues to build throughout the draft by drawing in even more talent.
But one area I find interesting on the Rams roster, though, is running back. Seven-year player Steven Jackson is the front man in St. Louis, but no real backup or third-down running back has ever been established.
While Jackson can bring both power and versatility with the ball in his arms, Reggie Bush could provide the receiving threat that the Rams have been lacking in the backfield. Last season we saw rookie quarterback Sam Bradford sacked 34 times, but if he had the option of offloading to a capable running back, wouldn't the Rams take it?
If one thing is for sure, Bush would yet again benefit from a West Coast style offense. Head coach Steve Spagnuolo and new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels look to continue teaching Bradford the West Coast style, and with the addition of a guy like Bush, the process only speeds up.
Jackson only scored seven touchdowns last season, a small statistic compared to other elite runners in the NFL. St. Louis is one of few teams that isn't in dire need of a runner, although they could do with a backup to help share the workload with Jackson.
Bradford, Jackson, Mark Clayton and possibly Reggie Bush?
Now there's an offense the NFC West could be proud to see in the playoffs.
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I never thought I'd see the day when Donovan McNabb would totally fail in Washington. Nonetheless, here we are 12 months later with a failed experiment in hand, plus a bundle of problems for head coach Mike Shanahan to correct.
Clearly, the Redskins have plenty of issues to mull over. Last season, Washington showed glimpses of things to come in the early stages, but when it came to point-scoring, the Redskins' 25th-ranked machine simply couldn't produce the goods against the NFC's elite.
Sure, Washington went 6-10, but the Redskins struggled to get the job done on both sides of the ball. The lack of a serious receiving game is an ongoing saga, even after landing Leonard Hankerson is Round 3 of the draft.
Say what you will about McNabb, but the Redskins' lack of scoring is not entirely his fault. For as long as I can remember, Washington has struggled on the ground, and now that Clinton Portis is no longer around, things become even trickier.
The likelihood of Reggie Bush moving to Washington is slim. The Redskins picked up a fourth-round running back in Roy Helu on the weekend, and are now looking to take two steps forward instead of two steps back on offense this year.
So what could Bush bring to the Redskins, if we were to entertain the idea?
I like the combination with McNabb a lot. It would be foolish to compare Bush to Brian Westbrook during his heyday, but he does have that kind of potential if someone will just roll the dice.
It's probably a no-go, but the Redskins really do need to find their go-to man on the ground.