Coach Tony Sparano acknowledged Wednesday the Dolphins haven’t given Reggie Bush enough touches on plays that are well-suited to his skill set.
“He creates some problems that people have to pay attention to, and we have to do a better job of getting him the ball in some of those situations,” Sparano said. “He’s had some opportunities [but] we haven’t been able to get the ball into his hands. We got blitzed in the game the other night. The ball should have gone to him [but] we went to the other side, to Brandon Marshall.”
Bush was in the game for 27 and 35 snaps in the two games that Daniel Thomas played. Bush was on the field for 40 of Miami’s 57 offensive snaps against San Diego, with Thomas sidelined for the second time this season by a hamstring injury.
“Just to turn around and hand him the ball on a stretch play and see him gain 16 yards is an easy way to get him the ball,” Sparano said. “But then you [need to] get him the ball on a screen, on a check down. Early in the game, he got 13 yards on a third-down screen.” Sparano said “you have to be Houdini” to do that, because “anybody in the world knows what’s going on.”
Bush is averaging just 3.0 yards per carry (40 for 119) and 6.6 on receptions (13 for 201). “Reggie allows some other people to get open because of how… teams play him,” Sparano said.
### Nose tackle Paul Soliai has noticed a significant difference this season beyond the size of his paycheck.
“I’m getting more double teams,” he said – something Sparano attributes to “the type of running games we’re playing.”
Because he often has to take on two blockers, Soliai’s effectiveness cannot be measured primarily by tackles. He has only five in four games, compared with 39 in 16 last season.
But there’s another reason for the modest numbers: Because the Dolphins have played some pass-heavy teams, Soliai has played only 46 percent of Miami’s defensive snaps.
“Paul has been disruptive the last couple weeks, shown up in the backfield a little more,” Sparano said. “Now he hasn’t finished the plays. He and I talked about that [Wednesday]. He’s knocking the heck out of the runner a couple times back there but didn’t wrap up. It ends up being a one-yard, two-yard gain.
“That life isn’t real sexy down there. People are going to double you. It’s up to other people to make some of those plays.”
Pro Football Focus rates Soliai’s play 17th among 81 nose tackles – 19th against the run.
But Soliai, who’s earning $12.4 million as the team’s franchise player, said as a group, Miami is allowing too many yards on the ground. Opponents are averaging 4.1 per carry, which is 19th in the league, compared with 3.6 last season, which was fourth best.
### The Dolphins cut defensive back Nate Jones on Wednesday to make room for 6-foot-7 offensive tackle/guard Will Barker, who was plucked off Tampa’s practice squad. “He’s been a guy we’ve had our eye on,” Sparano said.
### Chad Henne (shoulder), Thomas (hamstring), Koa Misi (neck), Tony McDaniel (hand), Nolan Carroll and Chris Clemons all sat out Wednesday's practice. The Dolphins will practice on Thursday before taking off five of the next six, with Tuesday their only scheduled workday. The new labor deal requires players get four straight days off during their bye week.
### Last word to safety Yeremiah Bell: “Wee’re doing some stupid things” on the field. “This year, it feels like everyone is doing their own thing. We have to get back to playing collectively.”