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The curious case of Reggie Bush

Some things puzzle me about the Dolphins. The defense's regression puzzles. The continued inability to win at home puzzles. And the team's use of Reggie Bush puzzles.

On several levels now.

It puzzles that the Dolphins look at Bush -- a 6-foot and 205-pounder -- and somehow believe him to be an inside running threat. Bush proved long ago in New Orleans he wasn't that. He's proven this year he isn't a dude that will run through 300-pound defensive linemen or create his own hole where there is no hole.

Yet the Dolphins have through three games repeatedly asked him to run between the tackles. They did it less last week as there were attempts to use Bush on pitches. But if this were my team, he would never be asked to stick his facemask in the A-gap.

The guy needs to be out in space. It is obvious to anyone with eyes. Yet, it hasn't happened enough.

Interestingly, the Dolphins agree Bush is better outside, in space, where he can use his speed and agility to escape defenders.

“Well, we got to get him in some space," coach Tony Sparano said. "I think that’s important.  I think that trying to get Reggie touches early is important.  We didn’t do … we did do a good job of getting him the ball early in the ball game the other day. Unfortunately, his first carry was the second play of the game and it was a penalty. He did catch a ball out of the backfield.  But we got to get him involved a little bit earlier, try to get him going a little earlier that way. It’s just you’re trying to get him going, trying to get Brandon (Marshall) going, you’re trying to get some things going that way. You don’t want to get caught in that mode too many times where you’re trying to feed players particularly.  That’s a bad thing for the quarterback...I get to yell at the quarterback go back there and play. If the read takes him then the read takes him there or any of those types of things. We can do a better job of getting Reggie in space. I think that’s important.”

Yes, it is important. I think it is also important to use Bush in situations where his presence is a matchup problem for the defense. In that regard, it's puzzles me why the Dolphins don't use Bush is a base formation and then motion him out wide to the slot or elsewhere.

This forces the defense to cover Bush with a linebacker or strong safety out in space. That is a mismatch problem for the defense. It makes sense to use. And the Dolphins practiced this tons in the preseason. It was evident to anyone who attended the open practices.

They apparently continue to practice it since workouts have closed to all outside eyes. But the puzzling thing is they don't use it in games.

And that puzzles Bush as well.

“We do it a lot at practice," Bush said. "It just hasn’t been called in the game. It’s going to come."

Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is in charge of calling the plays. He is scheduled to speak to the media today and my guess is he'll be asked why he's not calling those plays.

"I know he’s going to make those calls, I will be spread out wide there. I’ve done a little bit, but as much as obviously in my past so like I said, we do it all the time in practice, it just hasn’t shown in the game yet.”

Like I said: Puzzling.


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We will prob have the 4th or 5th pick..............TRENT TRENT TRENT


Ohio, hahahaha, oh man,,,, I used to have faith in the coaching staff and have lost every bit of it. Sooooo in my opinion not only have they not addressed the mismatches and such, they're probably not even aware they're playing the Chargers this week. Hopefully they read the paper tonight so they can get the game plan in order.

I have a plan but have a feeling this is what they're going to do.

1. try to run a pip squeak straight up the middle.
2. lots of shotgun plays insuring that the offense not be able to use play action.
3. D. Thomas on some runs until he gets hot then bench him and start passing but keep Bush in to block.
4. Play really aggressive until the game is on the line and then just play for field goals and rely on your 30th ranked defense to stop the other team.
5. lots of fist pumps and butt slaps after field goals.
6. Go into the locker room at half time and tell the players how well they're playing even though we're down by 14. While doing that forget to adjust to what the other team is doing.
7. OH YEAH, Make sure to keep Fasano on the line to protect Colombo (he's such a nice guy we have to give him the RT spot, real "smart" player, can't block but he's smart so that's what counts!) while ignoring the reserve SS mismatch down the middle freeing up that SS to double cover Marshall.
8. Leave our talented young receivers like Gates and Moore on the bench because allthough they're lightning fast they just don't run the routes as sharp as Bess and Hartline.
9. Last but not least install an even more vanilla defense with no blitzing because our dbs are so helpless they need extra players to do their job. But then still give up over 400 yds passing!

Sounds about right to me, am I missing anything?

phins78 - per your post way back about the game...

If Miami can manage to somehow figure out how to get some pressure on Rivers, he does tend to throw some bad ones sometimes that could be picked off. He'll get some good yards against us, but a turnover or 2 could swing things.

Our offense needs to take advantage of their questionable secondary in the REDZONE. Unless it's a 40 yard bomb for a TD.

What better time to use Reggie than at the end of last game, when all you need is 10 yards to have a legit shot at a game-winning field goal? He's perfect for that situation, and there's no LB or S who can cover him one-on-one. Horrible, horrible play-calling in that situation, especially the downfield shot to Clyde Gates out of bounds who, by the way, has all of ZERO catches!

TS needs to put Carey back at RT move Pouncey to RG plug in a center and the line will be strong. Time to let colombo sit out or be a backup because he isnt getting the job done. We will have a stronger line and more holes to run through. Then used Bush and Thomas and Slaton in a wishbone set as where you could hand the ball off in any direction or send bush out into the slant. Or just use bush and Thomas in and then motion Bush out so that he can kill the D. There is no reason for this team to be losing like they are when they have so many ways to score. The Defense needs to wake up or someone needs to be fired or traded ASAP.

People talking about Crowder be our savior are idiots. Crowder was cut because he simply wasn't a playmaker. He was injured all the time, and when he did play he would be chasing the tightend after he caught the ball, or tackling a back 10 yards down the field. Please no more Crowder talk, it just shows how much you don't know about football.

I'm trying to work up some optimism. Each week it gets increasingly harder to do. It's to goofy, even for an idiot like me.

Henne took his usual one step forward, two steps back in the first three games. The back steps haven't been as bad as years past. So, he's due for a solid game.

The Homer Killer is the defense. Rivers and the Chargers are really good and consistent with the quick strikes.

Losin to Brady and Shaub is one thing, but we couldn't even slow down Colt McCoy!

C'mon man..........................

Yeah Ohio definitely. The problem as I see it with the defense is that this regime relied so heavily on inexperienced players becoming great over night that they now have to give them help in the defensive backfield. That takes away our lbs and safeties being able to blitz. It takes Y bell out of the equation on the line because he has to hold Reshads hand the whole game. The only way you can get pressure is if you have good corners and so far, from what they've shown us, we don't. Or if the d-line was as good as everyone said they were they could generate pressure but that was just another puff of smoke blown up our collective a*s.

I agree odin........I still can't figure out how that happened. Seriously, put your big boy pants on and stop McCoy and the Browns.......sheesh

Yea Phins but the problem is, without getting pressure it makes it even harder on the DB's, so it is an endless cycle of problems.

I should stop, the more thinking I do the more depressed I'm getting, haha. It'd be nice if Wake could turn into a monster the remainder of the season

yep, we don't have those shutdown corners so the pressure needs to come from the line and it's not happening.

Mr. Miami I think they could even keep Pouncey at center because he is doing a great job especially in the run game where he's getting to the second level. They should just plug Jerry back in at RG and move Carey back to RT. Jerry did fine at rg in Careys absence. Colombo sucks,,,,,period. Coach doesn't see it because he's too loyal to "good guys". Meaning nice and smart, he doesn't care if they can play, just wants them to be able to date his daughter.

Dolphins were only team to put a claim in for Steve Slaton! Good job wasting another $1M of Stephen Ross $$$ when you could have gotten him as a free agent for LEAGUE MINIMUM!

Jeff Ireland - you are pathetic!

This just in, Malcolm Floyd and Vincent Jackson will have a field day against the Dolphins DBs this week and likely set another NFL record to rival New England's. This time it will be the first two wrs in the NFL to have a record breaking amount of combined catches and yards in one game.

Also, the Slaton pick up is a good one because he can challenge Gates for kick off return duties. That is all he will add to the team, a challenge, but will never come close to Gates 19 yrds per return number seeing how his career number is more like 15 something. So basically another useless player taking up a roster spot.


That was sarcasm in regards to Slaton there. DOwn there, out there, that way, you know, those guys, that room, down there, working hard, in that way, ummmmm, great guys, real smart that way,,,blah blah blah. Thanks Tony.

haha.........I love the Tony Talk in here, I can hear him saying that crap everytime you guys type it

It is interesting that in Dallas, they are regretting the loss of Columbo and pointing to their offensive line problems at RT because they let Columbo go. So Dallas thinks Columbo was a benefit at RT and Dolphins think he absolutely sucks. Sounds like coaching. Rob Ryan for headcoach.

NFL.com is saying that Gates doesn't think he'll be able to play against Miami, and that it would take a "Miracle" for him to be able to play.

Dolphins were only team to make a claim for Slaton
Posted by Mike Florio on September 29, 2011, 2:36 PM EDT

Given that the Miami Dolphins occupy a spot near the top of the waiver-wire priority (thanks to their 0-3 record), it’s possible that other teams made a claim for the contract of former Texans running back Steve Slaton.

As pointed out earlier today on our Twitter account (but as someone forgot to mention in a post at PFT), no other team made a claim for Slaton’s services.

It means that, if the Dolphins hadn’t submitted a claim, he would have become a free agent. And that he likely would be making far less than his current $1.2 million salary.

Just about every team comes out with the spead offense. If our LB'S and Safeties can't cover the slot reciever and TE's, then move Sean Smith to TE, Will Allen to the slot and Jimmy Wilson to corner opposite Vontae.

Sean Smith is the tallest corner is football, and did anyone did notice last game he was covering the Cleveland TE's at the end of the game.

We might as well play with no LB's.

Simply, I have been reading all of the blogs all week, and everyone is asking why Nolan has stopped being aggressive. I will tell you exactly why.

When you play the 3-4 DEF, you normally have 5 guys on the line to disguise the rush of the outside LB and blitz of the middle LB's and stunts.

When you play this style of DEF you are on top of the TE's not 3-5 yards away from them. Once they release, they are already past the LB on top of them, now the are reading the middle LB's and safeties running to open space. When they see the safety blitz they run seem route down the middle.

When you have such fast TE's in today's game it creates a very difficult way to play DEF. The Dolphins have been reverting back to a 4-3 to keep the TE's in front of them.

In doing this, they are getting no pass rush what so ever. This is the time your front 4 have to earns it's pay and they haven't.

I can see playing this way against NE and the Texans, but not the Browns. They should of been coming after McCoy all game.

Any more questions?

No Armando Salguero, it's obviously the Miami fan that's at fault for allowing this enept Ireland/Sparano show to continue any further! FIRE THEM YESTERDAY!

If the QB's read takes him there? Really Tony? Do not you need a QB that can read defences to be able to do that. One that could 1 play out of 4 actaully read a defence and go through progresions and actually have the SKILLS to throw to the best option.One that could run a two minute offence would help too.

Fire Ireland NOW! Get another GM and start brainstorming who the next Headcoach will be! Give Sparano his walking papers at the end of the season. Time to rebuild. Cast off the Dallas rejects that aren't any good. Draft a first-round quarterback, who can sit behind Henne for a few games, and let the two of them battle it out for the starter spot. Get rid of the dead weight on this team and rebuild.

That's what we NEED to do.

What will we really do? Nothing! Same old song-and-dance! We'll wait until the very last minute and then make the wrong decisions. AGAIN!!!

ugggghhhh, rebuild? We just started doing that 4 years ago. I'm not ready to say all of our young players are useless. They came from the draft and if not drafted by us would be playing for other teams and probably thriving. I'm hoping beyond hope that it's the coaches who are the problem and a new coach will be able to come in and turn it around quickly. A new GM can plug in a QB,TE,RT,OLB, through the draft and free agency and help turn it around in one offseason.

Because the alternative, a rebuild, is not an option. I've heard people suggest this but I'm not sure if they are understanding the definition. There are only two players currently on the team that were here before the new regime took over. A rebuild would mean the new GM and coach had no faith in 95% of these players and start from scratch which means another 4 years of crap football and watching players like WELKER go on and have stellar carreers. Lets not make all of these youg players out new Welkers. I just can't take the pain!

I'm not editing my posts lately, lots of misspellings, deal with it!

This is the bottom of the barrel for the Fins.
If I was Reggie, I would get extra injury insurance because the way they are running him, his career light is quickly fading away. there is no way he can survive the beating he is and will be taking. The coaching is beyond terrible and between Ireland and the dud owner, it's going to be a long time before we see the fish competing for a title again. Good news though, we are in the race for the Andrew Luck race ..... Luck, that's exactly what we need now.

I miss Dying Breed fighting with the other guy. What happened to the good ole days of yesterday? :) See ya people.

So, Question?

What makes a new head coach suddenly win when he replaces a coach who has lost multiple consecutive games? Also keep in mind that the players are the same...

Question 2.

What makes some coached better than others?

In my opinion, the answer is usually the same. It is their approach to coaching... Motivation aside, the poorer coach will use the best players they have to fit the schema they want to run. The better coach with fit the schema they use to maximize the talent they have.

That is why Bush runs between the tackles and not outside. It fits the schema the coach wants to run.

What made Shula so great was that he changes the entire playbook to maximize the talent he had at any given time. When Marino became a starter, Shula changed from a running oriented team to an air-it-out one overnight. It fit the talent he had.

I heard yesterday that "The Dolphins have too much talent on the team to be 0-3. Yea, they do, but it is either not involved in the play, or sitting on the sidelines.

The fact; Sean Payton who you must consider to be a genius with offense, considering what New Orleans record is under his watch uses his offensive weapons to be successful. I think he is far more successful then Soprano regime. And you can say their evaluation of talent is far superior to the Dolphins. Given that, Payton used Reggi Bush as a situation player. Why doesn't Soprano and the offensive coordinator follow the track record of Payton?

Bush should be putting up Marshall Faulk numbers. But he is not because...you guessed it...inept management.

I didn't say a TOTAL rebuild. I agree we have some players with lots of potential. We don't have to get rid of all of them.

But, we've got an O-line that can't block. A defensive secondary that can't cover anyone (and can't catch). We've got a bunch of Tight Ends that aren't producing. Our backfield is questionable (except for the rookie, Thomas). We suck on Special Teams.

What do you call replacing those players? REBUILD!

And, when you bring in a new GM and Coach, they're going to want THEIR kind of players! REBUILD!

So, yes, I think a slight rebuild is in order.

why do players get worse when they become dolphins? coaching/game planning???? i know bellichek finds out a players strength and uses it to his advantage in creating mismatches; such a novel concept! why cant we do it? we dont have a "system";it creates a steady turnstile of players we dont develop.

Stephen Ross has told Sporano to lose as much as possible to finally get a franchise QB in Luck. I would never put it past these losers to lose on purpose in order to finally find a real QB. Maybe Ross told him his job was safe. Its the opposite of the Al Davis mantra.......Instead of Just win baby - its Just lose baby. Does anybody really believe that this front office and this coaching staff wouldn't do this? Wake up! They are classless.

I remember when Sean Payton left Dallas to go Coach N.O. that Parcells said and I quote that he wasn't sure he would succeed because he would pass to much and start drinking the Kool Aid on the Air Ball. I remember at the time the comment was made thinking about the last 5 or 6 S.B. Champs to that point and wondering if Parcells wasn't the one drinking the Kool Aid in all honesty.

Like most I was happy when he went to Miami because I thought at worst we would be a tough as nails team but came to realize that he really buys the stone age way of doing things on O and is not the best talent evaluator around. It is what it is, the day we took Parcells and Atlanta had to settle on Thomas Dimitroff was a sad day for us and a great day to be a Falcons fan in hindsight.

We need to cut our loses this year and not stop the head chopping at Sparano, this team was constructed by Ireland and his pass on the part of Ross I don't get?? I would let a new GM come in and reconstruct the Coaching staff I believe this team only a couple of players and coaches away not in need of total rebuilding, agree 100% with phin 78 on that front but do it the right way because if you bring in guys like Fisher or Cowher and give them total control we could be in a jam again sooner than later considering that neither had any personnel control at either of there last stops.

greg z.,

we've done a good job developing our punter. Don't be so harsh!

Can we go back to a LOCKOUT?

I can't keep on watching the Miami Dolphins.

If players are still making mistake at practice and they are getting called out.

I can't hold anybody else responsible but the coaches. Take that guy out until he learns where the heck he needs to be at all times.

Im about to go HAM on you dol-fans. Go eat a dick!


Your 100% right on!! I didn't even bother with that post absolute B.S. and by the way after the bang up job Sparano has done with the OL not even good friend Sean Payton would hire him in any capacity in N.O. without getting blasted in that City.

I will be at the Chargers game. It will probably mark the first time in my (more than 40) years of being a Dolfan, I will go to a game not wearing gear. Not because I am afraid for my safety (as I should have been in Philly, NY, Cleveland, Buffalo in years past)... but because I am sick of being embarassed and mocked by the sad sorry state this Franchise has become since Shula was "retired".

I do want to say to Soiled: keep it up brother. I spilled my coffee reading you post.

Mike Leach for Head coach !!

This is really unbelievable! Sparano talks about what he has to do in the press before doing what he should have been doing; passing to Bush with a LB or strong safety on him. This is why Sparano in history. He is reactive and not proactive. Goodby Tony don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Why would I want to hit Coach Hairy Ears? I wouldn't touch that cretin if you paid me!

Ray, I'm proud of you! Great post!

Mando, good analytical piece! Unfortunately the fans and sports writers know how to better use the players than the coaches do...

Sporano literally is not leadership material. Although Daboll is the Offensive Coordinator, the responsibility ultimately rests on the HEad Coach. Sporano consistently says he recognizes what needs to be done, and as it pertains to Bush (and almost everything else), his analysis is correct, but he does not tell Daboll what to incorporate in his packages. Sure, you give OC's some latitude, but the head-coach is supposed to be more pro-active overall on both sides of the ball than Sporano is. This franchise has lacked real leadership, intelligent personnel evaluation and strategizing for about a decade now, and it's quite sad.

Tony Sparano rejects idea Brandon Marshall has dropped 3 TD passes this year. "You can call some of them drops. I call them hard catches."

Is Sparano implying "hard catches" that are not caught are more acceptable? As a head coach, shouldn't he come across as a little more demanding?

Maybe I'm just reading too much into that statement.

Odin that play could work

Winston, I agree!

Mando.....dead subject.....

How about a new topic on any of the following.....

Columbo.....and his turnstile aprach to OL play......

Will the real Cameron Wake please stand up.....

Jake Long and his injury History.....go IN DEPTH.....hold some feet to the fire...is it true Long's knee injury is still lingering from last pre-season...

Dolphins conditioning program....Do they have one....if so....what are they doing to ensure we don't see a repeat of Monday night....Monday Night the 17th of OCT.....

Antiono Gates is questionable (toe).....got any contacts in SD....

How about some follow up Quotes from the "best DB tandem" in the NFL......

Daniel Thomas looks like he may be the next bright spot in Dolphins RBs....how bout a little expose' in DT....

Dolphins Special Teams seems to be much improved minus TRUNSIK....is it due to the new rule.....or is it due to hungrier....more disciplined athletes...

Your the writer.....you figure it out......


I just got done working and read Mando's article. There is no puzzle here. The owner blows, the GM blows, the coach blows, the QB isn't very good and Bush really isn't that good. Where's the puzzle?

Aloco - I agree, great post Kris. Also, I'd like Mando to ask Mr. Ross who is on his short list of coaches/GMs for next season or do we have to go through J.Lo or The Miami Sound Macine for this info?



I'd also like to know why I used to see Brandon Marshall looking like the second coming when he played for Denver - that one dude on ESPN (they all look and sound the same to me) said he was the best open field runner inthe NFL when the Dolphins signed him - and now he looks like a posession receiver. What happened? Where did his big play ability go? Did it dry up?

no henne is his qb, henne is horrible

Fatty Parcells.....

that is truly an answer i'd like to know....

Our equipment people have been garbage for a long time.....

Our WRs slip....

Our DBs slip.....

Ronnie and Ricky slipped every time they tried to make a cut.....

Its hard to put that on the player...I think its got to be on the equipment manger....or whatever his/her title is.......


Armando can you do a feature on Tony Sparano Jr.?



I think the team is being sabotaged internally. Whatever that #6 ranked defense was doing last year is not being done this year. I don't care how great the team looks on paper, you cut off the head and you have 53 individuals looking like crap.

Ross is smart enough to know how to sabotage a business plan I think...

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