Chicago Sun-Times

Michael Bush doesn't love "battering ram" reputation

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We're just starting to get to know Michael Bush, so he's either got a droll sense of humor or he doesn't really enjoy some of the roles for which he's known.

At 6 foot 1, 245 pounds, Bush is a force, and he showed plenty of power and potential in Thursday's opening practice. But asked if he is looking forward to getting pads on, Bush said, "No.

"More shots at me. But that's how it is."

Then, Bush was asked if he liked short-yardage and goal-line running.

"That's the role I've been stuck with, because of my size," he said. "But if that's what I got to do, then that's what I got to do."

Asked if he doesn't necessarily like it, Bush said, "No one likes to be a battering ram but it just happens that way."

Naturally, Bush wants to be an every down back, but he won't get that chance, so long as Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte is healthy for the Bears. Bush showed plenty of skills last season, filling in for Darren McFadden and finished with 977 rushing yards, mostly in nine starts. He also had 37 catches for 418 yards, with eight total touchdowns.

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I would not be surprised to see him basically splitting time with Forte about 50/50. In some ways he has a bit more versatility than Forte, and on third and short, he will show up big time. He really is a powerhouse but also has good speed and agility. Forte may be pushed to get as much game time as he would like. In all, I think he was a great acquisition for the Bears.

Best case scenario for the Bears is if Forte is touching the ball 20-22 times per game, and Bush is handling it 8-10. If that happens, the offense will be moving the ball and scoring points. If we have a lead in the 4th quarter, I would love to see a 2-3 play rotation, where each plays a few downs to keep hammering the defense with run plays, since both can run either inside or outside.

I can understand why any back would be reluctant to spend their time getting the snot knocked out of them on every play. Just look at Earl Campbell now, and you see what a physical back has to look forward to as he gets older. Bush is really not a bruiser type back, but he is effective in short yardage and goal line, where historically Forte has not been. But that doesn't mean he does it by putting his head down and slamming into the pile. Marcus Allen was one of the best short yardage backs in the league, and he was not a hammer either. He had great instincts to find the little seam to squeeze through. Bush is too big for that, but he does have instincts around the goal line and short yardage to find the spot to push through.

Forte fantasy owners won't like it, but I see Bush with at least 4 more rushing TDs this year than Forte

You are probably right, Sean, but do not overlook the fact that Bush also has a pretty good paycheck and has shown more consistency than Forte. Don't get me wrong, I like Forte and am glad he settled with a decent contract, but I like Bush just as much and have more faith in what he has to offer because of that power on third and long and at the goal line, areas that killed the Bear the last couple of years, even with Barber.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on July 27, 2012 2:38 PM.

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