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Saints' Reggie Bush finding his groove in the playoffs

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Star Tribune (Minneapolis) METAIRIE, La. Except for the Kim Kardashian girlfriend factor, New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush had been a relatively forgotten NFL player since 2006, his rookie season, when he accumulated 1,523 all-purpose yards and nine ...

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Old 01-23-2010, 09:57 PM   #1
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Saints' Reggie Bush finding his groove in the playoffs

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)



METAIRIE, La. Except for the Kim Kardashian girlfriend factor, New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush had been a relatively forgotten NFL player since 2006, his rookie season, when he accumulated 1,523 all-purpose yards and nine touchdowns while helping the Saints to the NFC Championship Game at Chicago.

That changed last week when Bush re-emerged on the national stage with one of the best and most determined games of his four-year career. With 217 all-purpose yards and a pair of touchdowns, he helped the Saints crush the Cardinals 45-14 to reach their first home NFC Championship Game on Sunday against the Vikings.

"These are games where your stars need to show up and make plays and be a difference-maker," Bush said. "That's what I try to do."

The Vikings know that all too well. In a wild Week 5 meeting at the Superdome in 2008, Bush returned punts for touchdowns of 71 and 64 yards. And he nearly broke a third one in a game the Saints still lost.

"The Vikings' coverage teams are a lot better now than they were then," Saints special teams coordinator Greg McMahon said. "They've done a great job this season."

Bush downplayed the physical style with which he ran in the win over the Cardinals.

"There's nothing new about it," he said. "Last week, Coach gave me an opportunity to make plays, and I made the most of them."

Bush ran five times for 84 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown. He caught four passes for 24 yards. And he returned three punts for 109 yards, including an 83-yard touchdown that was the third-longest in NFL postseason history. It was his first punt return for a touchdown since the Vikings game in 2008.

"Reggie is a big reason for our success offensively," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "He gives you a lot of dimensions in regards to ways to use him. And, obviously, on the punt return game, he's significant."

Payton has been given some credit for motivating Bush to run with more power last week. The two spoke about the importance of it during the team's playoff bye week. Bush also took Payton's motivational tool to heart the night before the game.

The coach passed out little wooden baseball bats inscribed with the words "Bring the Wood." Bush brought his with him onto the field before the game. At kickoff, Payton supposedly had to tell a fired-up Bush that the NFL requires its players to put their bats down before entering the field of play.

Bush obliged and went on to have the kind of all-around game that made the Saints draft him second overall in 2006. That hasn't always been the case during the development of Reggie Bush.

"I think just for any young player during those growing years, you've got to learn how to be a running back in this league," quarterback Drew Brees said. "It's different than running circles around people in college."

Brees mentioned the need for more strength training and extra film study for all young players.

"You have to learn how to do things in what we call just being a professional," he said. "It's no longer you're going to school during the day and going to practice in the afternoon. This is your fulltime job now."

Judging by last week's performance, Bush is getting the hang of being a pro.

"When he's on and he's hot," Brees said, "it's fun to watch."

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