Raiders' focus: Stop Bush

The Raiders' biggest challenge this week won't be in trying to improve their red zone success or their third-down defense. After watching Reggie Bush go wild against Minnesota on Monday night, Oakland needs to find a way to contain New Orleans' special teams.

Bush scored touchdowns on two long punt returns -- and just missed a third when he tripped himself up while in open field -- to help the Saints rally before ultimately losing 30-27.

He was named the NFC's special teams player of the week for his efforts and definitely caught the Raiders' attention.

"Are you kidding me? I watched the game, I watched the special teams and the Saints didn't have a lot of spark and you could tell the fans were starting to get out of the game until he touched the ball on those punt returns," Oakland‘s Ike Ekejiuba said Wednesday. "When you watch somebody like that, who has the ability to change the game, it focuses a team because you've seen what he can do. The whole world has seen what he can do. Everybody watches Monday Night Football. Now you're the next team that's coming in and there's going to be a lot of talk about Reggie Bush and what he brings to the table, which is a lot. You don't want to be the next team that's on Reggie Bush's highlight."

Bush scored on returns of 71 and 64 yards to become the 12th player in NFL history to score on two punt returns in the same game. He has four punt returns for touchdowns in his career, most in Saints history.

For the Raiders, it's a matter of staying disciplined and not allowing Bush to break into the open. Oakland, currently 14th in the NFL on punt coverage, faced a similar situation last season against Chicago and opted to go right at Devin Hester. Hester was bottled up all afternoon and never got unleashed.

"We took a stand last year and said, ‘Alright, we're going to kick to this guy' and that's what we did," Ekejiuba said. "We kicked to him and we went down and covered the kick. It's a big statement to make if you're going to kick to somebody like that."

Bush is different than Hester, though, in that he has more moves and can avoid would-be tacklers much better than his speedier and more flashy counterpart.

"Chicago's special teams, they work as a unit. Hester's going to break one or two tackles then he gets to his wall," Ekejiuba said. "But Reggie, he reverses field which makes him really dangerous. The way he did it, he broke four tackles every time he touched the ball on the two touchdowns. So it's not going to be individual effort. You're not going to go out and tackle Reggie Bush one-on-one. You're not going to. It just doesn't happen. So this is where we've got to come together as a unit. We're counting on Shane Lechler to kick the ball like he always does and we're counting on the whole punt team to, ‘OK, let's go down here, minimize his gains and keep Shane's punt average up and send him to the Pro Bowl again.'^"


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