On Sunday night I asked coach Tony Sparano if the team could find a way to get both Daniel Thomas and Reggie Bush in the game during games in which Thomas is the hot hand as the running back.
The idea, obviously, is that Bush is a potentially dynamic player and it would be a waste to have him on the sideline serving as a spectator while Thomas runs the football. I figured, find a way to use him as a third-down guy. Use him as a punt returner. Use them both in the backfield and perhaps move him out to the slot -- thus forcing the defense to defend Bush with their base unit.
But coach wasn't buying any of that. He said what we saw is basically the way things are.
"Reggie‟s role is where Reggie is," Sparano answered. "Thomas was going good today, you know, and that‟s where we were. It was that kind of game. It worked out good."
Well, today things are a bit different.
First of all, Sparano just told the media that Thomas was in for 33 plays while Bush was in for 25 plays. I know, it sure didn't feel like that. But those are the stats the coach repeated.
Then he said the club actually has a package that includes both Bush and Thomas and that they used it some Sunday. The problem was, he said, that with Thomas an uncertainty because of his recent injuries, the package is admittedly small.
Well, here's the deal: You should look for that package to expand. It has to happen if Dolphins coaches saw what everyone else did. It has to happen to use as many good players as possible at the same time. Makes sense.
Yes, you can be critical of the Dolphins for not being ready with an extensive package for both players versus Houston. But, again, the team's stated plan was to use Bush 70 percent of the time and Thomas about 30 percent. They didn't foresee Thomas having a breakout day while Bush continued to struggle on his runs.
And now my opinion:
I've seen enough of the Dolphins pushing Bush as a carry-the-load guy. He's not that guy. He's never been that guy. Bush is a fine talent. He's a matchup problem for base defenses. So use him that way. Use him closer to the way the Saints did.
And let the bigger back carry the load.
Seems like a good way to maximize both. Maybe even at the same time.