Reggie Bush Will Be Missed

Bleacher ReportAnalyst IOctober 21, 2008

A few weeks ago, Reggie Bush dazzled the nation with two punt returns for touchdowns on Monday Night Football against the Minnesota Vikings. He could've brought a third one back, but he tripped and fell. Despite the returns, the Saints missed a field goal and lost the game, 30-27.

The point is, Reggie did his best and tried to win the game for the Black and Gold. Who cares that he fumbled the ball twice earlier in the game? He made up for those mistakes in the punt returns.

In the 2006 NFL Draft, it appeared as though the Houston Texans would take Bush with the first overall pick and that the Saints had basically no chance of taking Bush with the second overall pick. But to the surprise of many, the Texans drafted defensive end Mario Williams with the pick, and the speed demon from USC was headed to the Big Easy.

Many Saints fans saw Bush, along with Drew Brees and Sean Payton, as the saviors of the Saints after the stunning 10-6 season and the trip to Chicago for the NFC Championship Game.

Then came 2007. Many experts said that the Saints were better on paper than they had been the year before, but they were only better on paper. Deuce McAllister went down against the Tennessee Titans in Week Three, and Reggie Bush was the starter.

It soon became clear that Reggie Bush is no starting running back. That is to say, he can't carry the ball 20 times a game and be very successful at it, but with Deuce in the huddle, Bush can be a very effective back, returner, and receiver.

Before Sunday's game against the Panthers, it looked as if Bush was finally learning the ways of the NFL. He had returned three punts for touchdowns (one against the Washington Redskins and the two against the Vikings) and was starting to run pretty good. In fact, in the Panthers game he had a 20-plus yard run.

But then, he got injured.

He tore the meniscus in his left knee on a punt return, and after having surgery yesterday, it isn't clear when he will return to the team. Suddenly things aren't looking as hopeful as they were.

It isn't likely that Deuce McAllister will take the ball up the middle for 20-plus yards much. It isn't likely that Aaron Stecker or Pierre Thomas will catch the ball and outrun the secondary for a long touchdown. It isn't likely that Lance Moore and whoever will be returning punts will return two for touchdowns in one game.

Suddenly, there is a big hole where Reggie used to be.

I'm afraid that after the London game, people will be saying that Reggie is one of those players who you don't miss until he is gone. We need all of the help that we can get when we play the Chargers Sunday, but we'll take it in stride, just like he will, and hope for a Black and Gold win Sunday.