By Philip Cantin
Cold, Hard Football Facts Saint Among Men
\"\"When he was drafted second overall in 2006, Reggie Bush was a pivotal playmaker for the New Orleans Saints. During his rookie year, his yards from scrimmage provided 20.87 percent of New Orleans' total offense. He has burning speed that can scorch a defender faster than the Arizona sun (his 40-yard dash at USC's Pro Day was a red-hot 4.33). Bush was indeed a valuable member of the Saints offense whose talents force the defense to watch him closely when he trots the field. He's that good.
But not $11.8-million-a-year good.
And that\'s why, when Bush and his team could not agree a restructured contract, the Saints decided to send Bush eastward to the Miami Dolphins, who offered him a $10 million contract over two years. That\'s more in keeping with a running back whose rushing production within his first five years in the NFL (2,094 yards) is only slightly higher than Chris Johnson's production (2,006 yards) from 2009 alone.
Despite consistent yearly contributions of receiving yards that outnumbered his seasonal rushing yardages, his production compared to the total Saints offense had steadily declined.

Want proof? Take a look at the following table:
NFL Year Rushing Yards Yards from Scrimmage Saints Total Yards of Offense % of Offense

Last year, his contribution was a meager 6.01 percent, a career low. Of course, we can say much of this is attributed to injuries, as the oft-injured running back was out half the season. But this article isn't about proving what Reggie can\'t do; instead, it's about proving what Brees and the Saints offense did do in spite of Reggie.
Did the presence of Reggie Bush affect the rushing game, and was Drew Brees a less efficient passer without Reggie Bush to keep the defense in check? We'll use the CHFF Passing Yards Per Attempt Quality Stat to answer this question. Study the numbers when Reggie Bush was healthy and playing:
NFL Year Games Played Avg. Rushing Yards per Game  Passing Yards Per Attempt

 Now take a closer look at the numbers when Reggie Bush was on the bench:

NFL Year Games Absent Avg. Rushing Yards per Game  Passing Yards Per Attempt
In each of the last four seasons, not only did the Saints not take a hit when Bush was on the sidelines, they were in fact more productive -- every season, and in all the categories.
The 2010 season featured a half-season of Saints offense with Bush on the field, and a half season of Saints offense with Bush off the field. The rushing game did not falter, Brees' performance did not screech to a halt, and the Saints offense as a whole did not sputter when Bush was on the sidelines. All of this helps to demonstrate that the offense revolved around the leadership of Drew Brees and the wit of Sean Payton, not around the speed and dexterity of Reggie Bush.  

So how will Reggie Bush affect Miami\'s running game? The short answer is that it depends on a few things.

First, it remains to be seen whether or not Ricky Williams and/or Ronnie Brown re-sign with the team. Miami just signed two new running backs this year: Daniel Thomas (2nd round of 2011 NFL draft) and Nicolas Grigsby (undrafted). If either Williams or Brown return to action with the Dolphins, it will make for a crowded backfield. If Williams and Brown do not re-sign with the Dolphins, then it is possible that Bush, being the veteran, will be the featured running back and a key player in Miami\'s wildcat offense.

While $5 million isn\'t $11.8 million, it still represents more money than many of the league\'s starters make at the tailback position, and Miami will be couting on Bush to spread the defense, add a speed dimension to the rushing attack, and provide an extra option as a receiver.

All things that the Dolphins need ... but don\'t expect the Saints to be feeling the pinch regardless of what happens in Miami.