this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Here is the link in case any of you subscribe to fantasyguru.com. http://www.fantasyguru.com/football/...hinterview.php by John Hansen Publisher, FantasyGuru.com There’s nothing better than the NFL Playoffs. There’s no shortage of entertainment, of course, but the post-season is especially gratifying for me ...
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|06-13-2007, 01:16 PM||#1|
Join Date: Mar 2004
Here is the link in case any of you subscribe to fantasyguru.com.
by John Hansen
There’s nothing better than the NFL Playoffs. There’s no shortage of entertainment, of course, but the post-season is especially gratifying for me because it signals the end of 5-7 consecutive months of intense work and insane coffee consumption. For once, I can kick back and take pleasure in some NFL football knowing I don’t have an 80-hour work week ahead of me. And the football I view isn’t your typical mid-season fare; it’s high drama.
Unfortunately for yours truly, I’m able to rest easy for only a week or two after the regular season ends before I’m starting to map out a plan for the next season. One of the first things I do is consider which player I want to interview and put on the cover of this fine periodical. Back in 2004, it was an easy call: LaDainian Tomlinson, a great player and, from all accounts, a great person. LT was so impressive to interview, and his performances on the field the three seasons since I chatted with him speak for themselves. So the bar was raised very high. Last year’s cover, Steve Smith, is extraordinary on many levels, and he certainly met my criteria for our cover subject. I want an elite talent, but I also need to find a player who clearly has an intense desire to be great, and I don’t want to have any doubts about the player’s moral fiber.
In other words, don’t expect Mike Vick to make it to the very front of our magazine anytime soon.
So who was I going to pick for 2007? I need our guy to fit the description outlined above, but I also want a player about whom fantasy owners might still have some questions. After all, whether I interview Peyton Manning for the cover or not, you’re still going to rank him #1 on your draft board, so what’s the point?
So basically, my ideal cover subject is a player who is clearly an elite talent, preferably a potential all-time great, has a strong work ethic with no character issues, but is someone who might still be a little unproven as an NFL player and fantasy option.
And if he’s able to perform miracles, all the better.
It just so happened that I started thinking hard about whom I wanted for this year’s cover as I sat down to watch the NFC title game back in January. I had a guy in mind; just the week before, he took the hit of the year in the Divisional Playoff game and popped right back up, which impressed me. And with the Saints trailing 16-7 early in the 3rd quarter in the NFC Championship game, Reggie Bush took a Drew Brees pass down the sideline and turned it into an 88-yard TD – and at that moment, I knew the identity of the guy I wanted to get for this year’s cover.
Based on his body of work in high school and college, Bush scoring an 88-yard touchdown is standard fare. But this is a player whose struggles as a runner went from concerning early in the season to surreal by the middle of the 2006 campaign. Bush didn’t score a rushing or receiving TD until Week Ten, didn’t have his first 100-yard game until Week Thirteen, and by the official middle of the season, through Week Nine, he ranked as only the 38th best fantasy RB (in a non-PPR league). Any NFL scout with a clue believes Bush has everything it takes to have a brilliant NFL career, so clearly something was going on with the Heisman winner and 2nd pick overall of the 2006 NFL Draft, and I wanted to know what.
But another intriguing aspect to the Reggie Bush story was the team he (surprisingly) ended up on. An accepted interpretation of the word Saint is: “an ideal model of excellence or perfection of a kind; one having no equal.” That definition certainly applies to Bush, the NFL player. Another interpretation of "a Saint" is one who performs miracles. It was certainly a miracle for the New Orleans organization and family that Bush fell to them in the draft, especially given what the organization, and especially the city, has been going though. Maybe Bush didn’t perform miracles for those who drafted him in fantasy football last year, but I believe it will be doing just that very soon.
Bush is a player who had garnered more than his fair share of headlines, but there was also no shortage of storylines relating to this player in 2006. He already fit my ideal description of a cover story interview, so you can see why I wanted to get him – and get him I did on a Friday afternoon in New York City the day before the draft.
FantasyGuru.com's John Hansen with Reggie Bush
FG.com: Once the magical season got underway in New Orleans, did you start feeling as if it was almost your destiny to play for the Saints and that everything wound up working out the best for you, not being the #1 pick?
Reggie Bush: I think so, just because of everything, the way it played out. The impact I was able to make right away in the community, I think it worked out really well and it almost seemed like I really was destined to go there. I think a lot of people felt like I was destined to go there, too, you know, with everything I was able to do. The way we were able to lift the spirits of the city – it really couldn’t have worked out better and come at a better time.
FG.com: Some backs are able to step right into the NFL from college and excel as runners, yet you had some trouble early in your rookie year. Talk a little about what you were going through early last season.
Reggie Bush: I think it was just a matter of my being patient and kind of seeing things and allowing myself to slow the game down and not try to force it. Once I did that – and guys like Deuce McAllister and Drew Brees were able to help me do that – it was like I was my old self again; I was playing football and having fun again.
FG.com: A very typical shortcoming of a young RB is his propensity to take too many runs to the outside. Was that especially problematic for you, given your skill set and your incredible production and execution in college?
Reggie Bush: Oh, definitely. Initially, I was trying to force things to happen instead of allowing myself to see the holes and using my vision. I was trying to force things, especially outside. I maybe got caught trying to use my speed a little too much.
FG.com: Talk a little about your instincts. If they tell you to take a play outside, and you’ve had great success doing that throughout your career, how difficult is it to make the adjustment?
Reggie Bush: It’s tough, and because I’ve been so successful at taking plays, I have to learn to harness that ability and use it wisely.
FG.com: Later in the season you really did start to run with more authority and “hit it up in there” more, and your execution and production greatly improved. You looked like the Reggie Bush from USC. Talk a little about the journey you went through from early in the season to the latter stages of ’06, when your play improved greatly.
Reggie Bush: Early I wasn’t trying to allow plays to happen; I was trying to force them. By that I mean taking the 3 or 4-yard runs when that’s all that’s there and then when I get that big opportunity taking advantage of that, as opposed to trying to force the big play, the big run, every time. So once I allowed that to happen and slowed things down, I became a better player, a better runner, later in the season.
FG.com: What’s the #1 thing you want to improve on in 2007?
Reggie Bush: I think there’s always room for improvement with pass-blocking; it’s a huge key for a RB and it allows you to become a complete player.
FG.com: An underrated aspect of playing the position is recognition. Where do you feel you are in terms of being able to consistently read and recognize defenses so that you can get the most out of your abilities every time you touch the ball?
Reggie Bush: I think I’m pretty good at that, but there’s always room for improvement. That’s an area I definitely want to reach a high level at. I feel like once I do that, it will be one of the key elements for me to become a great player.
FG.com: You’re obviously very fast, and that’s a God-given ability. But talk about things like your ability to set defenders up and then freeze them. Is an ability like that strictly God-given, or is it something that can be taught?
Reggie Bush: A good deal of it is God-given, a blessing, but it also comes with so many years of practice. I’ve been doing this since I was eight years old, and a lot of it is stuff that I’m used to. I know what works and I practice it, so I’m able to use it.
FG.com: You’ve played alongside a pair of bigger backs the last few years in LenDale White at USC and Deuce McAllister now in New Orleans. Talk about the positives of a backfield situation like that for you.
Reggie Bush: There are a lot of positives that come out of it. You help each other by saving each other’s bodies. You’re not taking 30+ carries a game and getting beat up all the time. And especially later in the season, your bodies are still fresh while some other guys may be wearing down a little.
FG.com: Do you have plans and aspirations to eventually be a featured runner, or would you prefer to be utilized similar to how you were in your rookie season, as a dual threat?
|06-13-2007, 01:17 PM||#2|
Join Date: Mar 2004
Reggie Bush: Well I definitely view myself as an every-down back. So if that day comes, I’ll have been waiting for it. But, at the same time, I feel like, with me and Deuce and what we’re able to do, that definitely makes us both more dangerous.
FG.com: What do you feel is your upside potential as a runner in the NFL? If you were given, say 25 carries per game?
Reggie Bush: Wow. If I’m given the rock 25-30 times a game, I think that’s when I would break the all-time rushing record.
FG.com: A popular rule in fantasy football is awarding one point per reception. In these leagues, you were the 9th best RB last year. Can these fantasy players expect the same level of production from you in the passing game this year and every year?
Reggie Bush: Well, we’ll see; you never know. Every year things change. It depends on who we draft, who we bring in. I think I’m always going to be an integral part of the passing game, but, at the same time, I’m a running back first, and I think as I get older and more experienced, I’ll get more and more touches as a running back. I’ll always be used a lot in the passing game, but maybe not as much down the road.
FG.com: Casual fans may not realize that you’re deceptively strong and you don’t go down without a fight. How important is it to you and how much pride do you take in the power aspect of your game?
Reggie Bush: Yeah, I definitely do take a lot of pride in not going down on the first hit, the first tackle. I don’t want to be known as a guy who’s easy to tackle. I really think the power element is a very important part of my game and is a big part of what makes me a dangerous player.
FG.com: Last year your coach Sean Payton quickly gained a reputation for being an excellent scheme and design guy, and he seemed to put his skill players in a great position to succeed. Talk about how Peyton’s design and play-calling will help you going forward.
Reggie Bush: He’s a very smart person, for one. He opens the offense up very well, and I definitely think he puts his athletes and players in the best position to succeed and make plays, and it’s then just about the players going out there and making plays and making it happen.
FG.com: You handled the pressure of entering the league with so much hype, proved you could beat NFL defenders, showed a lot of toughness, and proved you could stay healthy. You accomplished a lot in you first year. What’s next? What’s the next goal?
Reggie Bush: Win a Super Bowl. That’s the next step. That’s always my ultimate goal.
FG.com: I like to ask players about their desire to be great. Some of them don’t have as an intense a desire as others. Talk about your desire to be great and your willingness to do whatever it takes to be great and leave that legacy.
Reggie Bush: Your legacy is based on how many championships you win. I think a player is defined by how many championships he wins. For example, look at Peyton Manning before this year compared to Tom Brady. Brady had won three Super Bowls and Manning none, so Brady’s legacy was viewed as being better, even though Manning was considered the best quarterback in the league. So I think winning championships can define a player and his legacy, so to me to try to be great and having that legacy, it’s all about winning championships.
FG.com: If there’s one player on the Saints who has helped you more than any other, who would that be and why?
Reggie Bush: I would say Deuce McAllister just because, you know, we played the same position. He definitely helped me out a lot, with watching film, and even just having him there in my position, knowing he had been there before. Even when he wasn’t helping me, he was actually helping me.
FG.com: You entered the league with such fanfare, and I would venture to say you never struggled at any point in your career up until last year. Did the first two months of the season test your mental toughness?
Reggie Bush: I think at one point it did test me, and I was questioning myself a little bit. It was one of the first times when I was a little uncertain. But having guys like Deuce and Drew around, they taught me how to stay calm and remain patient and just allow it to happen for me, and eventually it did.
FG.com: Many of our previous cover interviews – LT, Portis, etc. – weren’t that familiar with fantasy football when they entered the league, but you had to be pretty hip to the whole deal, right?
Reggie Bush: Yeah, I definitely knew it was huge.
FG.com: Were you still surprised with how many fantasy-related questions and comments you got from fans last year?
Reggie Bush: Yeah, I definitely was still surprised by all the comments. It’s always good to hear you can help someone in some way, shape, or form.
FG.com: What was the most outrageous one you got last year?
Reggie Bush: Nothing really outrageous, and most of the comments I got were positive. I helped this person get a lot of points and win a championship, and so on and so forth.
FG.com: Fantasy has helped the NFL grow to what it is today, so it’s a huge positive for the game, but do you see any negatives with fans focusing only on the statistics?
Reggie Bush: I’m definitely a fan of fantasy football. I think it gives fans a chance to feel like they’re a part of the NFL, and it keeps them interested in all the things we’re doing on the field, the stats. I definitely like it, and I think it’s great how it keeps the fans involved.
FG.com: Speaking of Brees, you grew up in SD as a Charger fan. Can you imagine a better role model than Brees’ great friend LT, and has he given you any advice?
Reggie Bush: Brees and LT, yeah, they are both great role models. But especially LT. I got a chance to work out with him, and I still do occasionally work out with him. Just even knowing him, he really doesn’t have to give me much advice. Just seeing him and observing him and seeing how he does it up close and personal and seeing what he does to be the best; he’s a great role model.
FG.com: You showed a lot of toughness in the playoffs after the hit you took from Sheldon Brown. Do you think some people underestimate your toughness?
Reggie Bush: I think so, I think they may because I’m not the biggest guy on the field, the strongest guy, so I think people may not look at me as one of the tougher guys. They look at Deuce as the ideal power back, so they may underestimate my power and toughness a little bit.
FG.com: How many times have you looked at that hit?
Reggie Bush: Oh, I see it all the time. I’ve seen it plenty of times. Trust me; it was like the #1 hit of the year. But that’s football, though. That’s why we love this sport. It’s exciting, with big hits, big plays. At any given time, there can be a big play, and that’s why I love this game.
FG.com: It looked to me like you simply got the wind knocked out of you.
Reggie Bush: Right, and that’s all it was. I got right back up, so it wasn’t the hit; it was the wind getting knocked out of me. We’re protected everywhere else but our stomachs, so it was the wind getting knocked out that hurt me.
FG.com: Where you surprised at the success of fellow rookie Marques Colston?
Reggie Bush: Initially I was a little surprised just because I didn’t know enough about him. I don’t think anyone really expected that much from him, but he definitely showed up and made his presence felt.
FG.com: Do you have a message for those considering drafting you this year, keeping in mind they will have to invest a very early pick in you?
Reggie Bush: Don’t waste time drafting me because I’m not going to be there (on the board) too long.
For the record, I officially agree with Bush’s concise evaluation about the prospect of drafting him in fantasy in 2007. You'd better not waste any time because someone’s going to snap him up quickly.
And that someone’s going to be very happy with the Saint called Reggie in 2007.
|06-13-2007, 09:30 PM||#5|
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Picayune, MS