By Eric D. Williams The News Tribune
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll knows how gifted a runner Reggie Bush is from their time together at USC.
So he understands that even though Bush is scuffling a little bit now, the elusive runner could erupt at any time.
And he doesn’t want that to happen today when the Seattle Seahawks take on the Miami Dolphins four time zones away from CenturyLink Field.
Bush, 27, rushed for more than 1,000 yards for the first time in his NFL career in 2011, finishing with 1,086 yards on 216 carries for 5 yards per carry. And Bush was on a similar pace this season, but the Dolphins have stopped giving him the ball on a consistent basis.
In his seventh season, Bush leads Miami with 575 yards and four touchdowns, but he’s averaging just 10 carries a game in the last five games, as Miami head coach Joe Philbin has leaned on more of a running back by committee approach, with second-year player Daniel Thomas and rookie Lamar Miller sharing some of the load.
“Last year and early on in this season he was off to a great start,” Carroll said. “He is still averaging 4 yards plus per carry, but he hasn’t been as productive lately. We certainly see on film that he is a dynamic football player, he could score from anywhere, and they know it, so they’re getting the football in his hands because they understand that.”
While he would like to contribute more, Bush said he’s more concerned about helping his team stop a three-game losing streak.
“I feel fine,” Bush said. “I’m ready whenever they call my number and I’m not so much focused on the amount of carries I get a game, but just on making plays when I get the opportunity, really. Whether that’s 15 carries, 20 carries, five carries, whatever it is, just making sure I’m ready, I’m available and making the most out of my opportunities when they come.”
For his part, Philbin said he’s like to see more production from the running game overall.
“We’ve got to do a better job,” Philbin said. “Our blocking has to be better. That’s just not the offensive line, but tight ends, fullbacks, receivers. It’s kind of an all-encompassing issue right now. It’s not just one individual. But he’s (Bush) done some really good things. He’s made some key plays for us and we obviously hope we can get him on track again.”
Bush already has played against Carroll while he was with New Orleans two years ago in the NFC Wild Card playoffs. Bush finished with five catches for 37 yards in Seattle’s 41-36 win.
I’m looking forward to getting the win,” said Bush, when asked if he was looking forward to playing against Carroll. “That’s what I’m looking forward to. I’m not so much worried about who’s on the other side of the field. This game is really going to come down to our ability to execute and just finding a way to win this game, getting better as a team, running the ball better, passing the ball better, just executing in all phases of the game.”