Bush Set To Lead Miami

Reggie Bush was a top Draft pick, but has fallen off the radar during his career, with the exception of his Kim Kardasian days. Is the hard workign Bush ready to lead a new look Miami offense?

Reggie Bush Pushing Harder
The Sports Xchange

   --Reggie Bush has established a reputation as one of the hardest working players on the Miami Dolphins' roster, and he's building on it every day.

   In only his second year on the team, Bush has turned into one of the players his teammates look to when searching for leadership. His emergence as a leader and role model in the Dolphins' locker room is one of the prime examples of how a person's perception, and image can get distorted by the national media.

   He's nothing close to what the gossip tabloids portray him to be. But Bush is confident, and has reason to be after putting together a career year in 2011, rushing for 1,086 yards in 15 games, catching 43 passes for 296 yards, and scoring a team-leading seven touchdowns.

   There's a possibility Bush can contribute even more for the Dolphins this upcoming season if he stays healthy because the west coast offense Miami's installing fits his skill set. He's more effective running behind a zone blocking scheme, and he's a threat catching passes out the backfield.

   New head coach Joe Philbin is excited about the tools in Bush's arsenal, and has a vision of how to better utilize his skill set, hinting that Bush might line up as a receiver more often. That might explain why Bush told a South Florida television station his goal is to lead the NFL in rushing in 2012.

   "I want the rushing title," said Bush, who finished 11th in rushing last season. "This offseason I've been working towards that goal. Just being effective like I was this past season."

   Bush's goal isn't out of the realm of possibility considering two tailbacks with comparable size - Jacksonville's Maurice Jones Drew (1,606 rushing yards) and Baltimore's Ray Rice (1,364) - were the NFL's leading rushers last season.

   And the fourth leading rusher, Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy, plays in a west coast offense.

   "Every time I rush the ball I want four yards," said Bush, who averaged 5.0 yards per carry in 2011. "I'm keeping my focus simple and small, but at the same time helping my team progress."

   But Bush will have competition for carries. Daniel Thomas, a second-round pick in 2011, gained 581 yards on 165 carries last season, a year that was hindered by hamstring and leg issues.

   Thomas has spent this offseason getting stronger with the goal of becoming the physical, one-cut rusher that perfectly complements Bush. The Dolphins also drafted former Miami standout Lamar Miller in the fourth round, and general manager Jeff Ireland envisions the team "sprinkling in" carries for Miller, who has legit 4.3 speed.

   Bush not only intends to lead the team in rushing, but he's also looking to teach the youngsters how to become a professional, just as Deuce McAllister taught him during his early New Orleans days.

   "I'm 27, I'm one of those veterans," Bush said, referring to his status as one of the aged vets on the Dolphins' roster. "Sounds crazy!"

Dolphins owner expects Moore to start at quarterback

   Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told NFL Network that he expects veteran incumbent Matt Moore to start at quarterback in the regular-season opener.

   That might come as an upset to some, considering Ross voiced his support for Ryan Tannehill to be drafted in the first round.

   "I don't think they're going to rush (Ryan Tannehill) into anything," Ross said. "He's going to have to win the starting job. I think Matt Moore will probably be the starter, and I wish him the best."

   But Ross said he wants a franchise quarterback, and if that turns out to be Moore, so be it. Ross tempered expectations for Tannehill, drafted eighth overall in April, last weekend. He told the Palm Beach Post the Dolphins wanted Tannehill to be brought along only at the pace the rookie could handle.

   While Tannehill began the offseason with a slight edge over Moore and David Garrard in terms of his grasp of the Dolphins' offense because it's very similar to the one employed at Texas A&M, where he played for current Dolphins coordinator Mike Sherman.

Dolphins offense will feature tight ends

   --Tight ends have been a big point of emphasis in coach Joe Philbin's offenses during his tenure as Green Bay's offensive coordinator, and it appears the Dolphins' new coach will continue to use that position as the main outlet on checkdown routes.

   That approach was one of the driving forces behind Miami's selection of Missouri tight end Michael Egnew in the third round of the 2012 draft. The Dolphins feel that Egnew, who caught 140 passes for 1,285 yards and scored eight touchdowns during his two seasons as a starter for the Tigers, would be able to threaten seam routes.

   The Dolphins intend to blend Egnew with the skills veteran starter Anthony Fasano and second-year H-back Charles Clay bring to the table, lining them all up in multiple spots, creating favorable mismatches.

   "We like his size, and we like his ability to attack the middle of the field. In the NFL you sometimes get linebackers that are 6-0 and 6-1, and now we have a guy at 6-5 with good length. Even if the linebacker matches him down the field sometimes you can get a back-shoulder throw you can get the ball," Philbin said. "Those guys (like Egnew) have a big catching radius where they are big targets. So I think that hopefully in the red zone or other area of the field he can be a threat."

   However, Egnew is a product of the same Tigers offense that produced drafted tight ends Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman. The Dolphins are hopeful that Egnew's career starts out better than those two.

   Coffman's caught three NFL passes since joining the league in 2009, and is on his second team. Rucker has caught two passes in his four seasons and is on his fifth team since entering the league in 2008.

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