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Is Reggie Bush Being Phased Out of the Saints Offense Due to Money?

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Drew Brees has one of the leagues most dangerous players to check the ball down to when he gets in trouble in the pocket;Reggie Bush. But if youíve noticed, as of late, Bush is only on the field in spurts ...

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Old 11-20-2009, 12:43 PM   #1
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Is Reggie Bush Being Phased Out of the Saints Offense Due to Money?

Drew Brees has one of the leagues most dangerous players to check the ball down to when he gets in trouble in the pocket;Reggie Bush.

But if youíve noticed, as of late, Bush is only on the field in spurts these days. His carries are few and far between. Is something wrong? Why isn't he getting the check-down as often as he use to?

Itís one of the biggest debates of the last four years. Every since the 2006 draft, people have been questioning the play and skills of Bush. You have people who buy into the perception that he canít do this or canít do that and refuse to see him as a victim of circumstance a la a mediocre run-blocking offensive line (at one time) and a pass-happy coach giving him an average of 10 carries a game.

Not to mention injuries or people who no matter what he does just donít like him based on his contract, his lifestyle and/or where he played in college; thatís fine. Sports are like politics; people carry all kinds of biases and passion can and often time does supersede reasoning.

Is it not a big deal and Payton is not intentionally doing this; possibly.

However, looking at Paytonís record and coaching style, there is little chance that with a talented guy like Reggie that Payton uses the guy only sporadically now unintentionally. Bush has too much explosiveness for Payton's style to be ignored just to be ignored.

Look at what Payton told the media about Robert Meachem at the most recent Saints Press conference, "You're seeing Robert Meachem, who is each week getting better and better and I have to look to continue to get him more touches.Ē

But Reggie Bush, his first-round draft pick, the golden boy with the fast feet who scored two touchdowns and contributed to the win, isnít even really discussed? What about his touches?

Or what about a recent October 30th press conference when a reporter asked what determines which running back gets the touches in a game and his response was:

"Depending on how youíre going with your plan, we try to do a number of things on the call sheet that feature certain backs. Thereís also a part where you just watch the game. As Mike (Bell) started playing well in the third quarter, we continued to give him his touches, much like we did Pierre (Thomas) in Buffalo. I think itís two-fold, itís the plan going in and then itís your ability to watch during the game."

No mention of Bush at all. Also, he didn't actually live up to this statement seeing that Bush had the hot hand in Buffalo, but stopped getting the ball.

It could be labeled far-reaching and paranoia, but it is possible that Bush is purposely being limited because of the incentives in his contract?

Letís not get carried away just yet. One must consider the possible reasons Payton has kept Bushís carries to an average of 6.1 carries a game this 2009 season. Bush has fumbled 16 times since heís entered the league. Thus far thatís an average of four fumbles a year. So, maybe after the three fumbles heís had thus far, Payton has decided to discipline himójust maybe.

Thatís possible and definitely plausible, but since his last fumble, in game four vs. the New York Jets, heís scored five touchdowns. Thatís a score a game from him so that reasoning canít be bought right now. Heís earned some more carries coach! It's coaching 101: a player gets hot, ride him!

What about the fact that Payton has two other running backs that not only are bigger than Bush, but run more north and south? Itís a running back by committee is it not? So someone has to take the hits in the carries department and it just so happens to be Bush.

Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell have both had 100-yard games this season already and Bush hasnít had one since his rookie season. Both running backs are averaging higher career yards-per-carry per game too. Itís only logical that Payton would stick with these two backs isnít it?

This is a good point and probably one of the best and hardest to disagree with except for the fact that Payton has used Bush sporadically over the years in the running department. Thomas and Bell have been given the ball for a whole series throughout the game several times this year. Thomas is currently averaging 13.4 carries a game in the games heís played. Bell in the first five games he played in this season, has averaged 17.8 carries.

The most carries Bush has seen this season was 13 vs. the Buffalo Bills and he had 64 yards for nearly five yards per carry and yet was basically benched the second half. Since that game, when was the last time Bush was given the ball for more than 10 carries? Weíve seen games where both Thomas and Bell are given the ball and were able to develop a rhythm.

Running backs need rhythm to be consistent and although Bush has had games where heís gotten a lot of ďtouches,Ē heís pretty much always been given the ball sporadically when it comes to actual rushing touches. He will continue to have sub par games in that department if heís not given the ball enough. Bush bashers everywhere will continue to believe the numbers support their bashing. Numbers arenít always the whole story.

Sure, the NFL is a game of numbers we all know.

Touchdowns equal six points, field goals three points and the team with the most points wins, but the most important numbers are the numbers on the paycheck. Whether people want to believe it or not, money rules the NFL.

But itís not the NBA. Contracts get nullified in the NFL all the time, there are no guarantees so to speak. Bush restructured his contract with the Saints last year just before the season and anyone with some sense, has to figure the numbers following that dollar sign has a lot to do with whatís going on right now.

Letís look at the contract details of Bushís renegotiated contract signing in June of 2008. According to a report from Ed Thompson, Senior NFL Analyst with Scout.com (see details of Thompsonís finding here), the Saints gave themselves a backdoor in case Bush doesnít earn the incentives. Sure thereís some guaranteed money, but most of the money isnít guaranteed. After this 2009 season, according to the report, Bush stands to make more than twice the money in salary he made this season.

This year heís being paid $2.6 million, but next year thatís supposed to shoot up to $8 million. There are incentives that he has to earn, but with injuries from last year and limited carries this year,heís probably not going to get them.

We donít know the specifics of the incentive clauses, but we can assume that 6.2 carries a game is not going to help him earn that money. How many role players get paid $8 million dollars a year? The Saints know theyíll have to up some player's salaries next year and Bushís salary is very hefty considering the production he's had.

The check has to come down, plain and simple.

Bush has to either renegotiate or leave. Payton is not the owner or manager, so he's not calling the shots as far as monetary measures go. And with two capable and (right now) cheap running backs doing the job, why waste money?

The only other explanation Payton has for limiting Bushís touches, is because heís saving him for the big games coming up and the playoffs. Is this how he wants to use Bush every year? Maybe, but for a cheaper price.

At this rate Bush isnít going to earn those incentives so this is leverage to renegotiate. So, remember that next time you see Reggie Bush do something amazing, but then not see the ball again,the check has to come down, but don't be surprised if the check-down heads out.

Is Reggie Bush Being Phased Out of the Saints Offense Due to Money? | Bleacher Report
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:09 PM   #2
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Re: Is Reggie Bush Being Phased Out of the Saints Offense Due to Money?

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Old 11-20-2009, 01:09 PM   #3
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Re: Is Reggie Bush Being Phased Out of the Saints Offense Due to Money?

Its not about money its pure football. He failed to make plays and doesn't hang on to the ball then you get less playing time. He's picked it up recently and got his ass in check so he gets more playing time simple.
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:20 PM   #4
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Re: Is Reggie Bush Being Phased Out of the Saints Offense Due to Money?

Bush plays a roll on this team. In fact, we have so many people capable of making a plays. Remember there is only one football. No doubt the Saints are better without having to rely on Bush to carry the load. If he's smart, he will recognize his limitations at the pro level and renegotiate his contract at the end of the season.
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:57 PM   #5
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Re: Is Reggie Bush Being Phased Out of the Saints Offense Due to Money?

Payton held Bush out all through training camp and preseason. If his knee bothers him coach sits him out of practice...I don't think you can play good football with only 2 backs.(I realize that some teams only use one back, but they have more waiting in the wings) We've only seen all three in the same game a couple of times and Payton has been going with the hot hand. In short I don't believe that a role player is worth all that money and I don't think he's going to stay healthy all of a sudden. He knows he's some place special and I believe that he will renegotiate.
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Old 11-20-2009, 03:04 PM   #6
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Re: Is Reggie Bush Being Phased Out of the Saints Offense Due to Money?

Bush is not an every down back, never was, never will be. He was a role player in college and he'll continue to be the same multi-level threat when used. He's just too frail to get hit that often.
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Old 11-20-2009, 03:34 PM   #7
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Re: Is Reggie Bush Being Phased Out of the Saints Offense Due to Money?

Bush is a role player. He has knee injury issues that are unlikely to go away. He is not worth $10 million a year to the Saints or any other team in terms of production. He's making that salary due to the current draft process. I'm glad he's a Saint. I hope they can work out a new deal that is more cap friendly which everyone can live with. If not, I wish him well. He was a key factor in the Saints getting to the NFC Championship game. He will be a factor in how far the Saints get this year. WHO DAT!
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:13 PM   #8
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Re: Is Reggie Bush Being Phased Out of the Saints Offense Due to Money?

whoaaaa, Armysaintfan, those are called t - - - - - s right there, man. wow.

No, Reggie is not being phased for money, he's not even being phased. Marques Colston didnt catch anything last week. Next week Devery will go silent, and Colston will get the catches again. The week after, it might be Lance Moore. I know this. I have both Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell on my
fantasy team. The week I sit Pierre, he rushes for 130 yards and 2 TD's. So I play PT, then Mike Bell gets 140 yds and 2 TD's, plus some receiving yards. There just arent enough balls to go around for all our heros.

Sean Payton doesnt use dollars to call his plays. Otherwise, we'd have, who was that draft pick? Antonio somebody, instead of PT.
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:45 PM   #9
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Re: Is Reggie Bush Being Phased Out of the Saints Offense Due to Money?

It's just smart football...Bush was fumbling everything within reach there for a spell, so Payton limits the chances of losing the ball on offense by minimizing that risk (benching/limiting #25's "contribution to the offense"). Bell and Thomas are being used properly, and (honestly) so is Bush. #25 has been playing much better recently, but I do believe that Bush's knee has also been a factor, and Payton is using preventive maintenance in those regards.

We will see Bush more down the stretch when we play ATL (puke) & CAR (gag) again to seal the division. The conspiracy theories are a fun way for me to pass the time researching at work, but this isn't one of them...Payton has an offensive play calling chart in his hand on the sidelines on Sunday, not a pay chart. If Bush is being phased out, it is strictly being dictated by two factors: 1. #25's injury (knee) 2. #25's play on the field.
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:11 PM   #10
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Re: Is Reggie Bush Being Phased Out of the Saints Offense Due to Money?

Let me put this out there since no one has:

Reggie is the featured back for one half this season and he can't even get through that without the knee swelling on him yet again. One has to wonder what the bigger story is. He's never been the same after the PCL injury. Read up on those. They can be career ending in a lot of ways. I think there is a bigger picture to whats going on with him and one has to wonder about his career long term.
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