- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The offense will be both old and new to running back Reggie Bush. Old in that he has seen all of this before, the Saints' terminology, the Saints' playbook. New in that he is with a different team now, the Detroit Lions, and his offensive coordinator, Joe Lombardi, has a New Orleans background but has never called plays.
But the one thing he can anticipate -- probably correctly -- is that the workload for both he and Joique Bell will be a little bit different. And Bush is fine with that.
“We had a pretty good rotation going last (season), so, you know, we did some pretty special things with that,” Bush said. “It can only go up from there, even if the workload is less for both of us, that’s only going to help us toward the end of the season, help us to stay healthy and probably play a little bit stronger and better toward the end of the season.”
Last season, both Bush and Bell topped 500 yards in rushing and receiving -- the first time two running backs on the same team accomplished that in the same season. Considering the way the New Orleans offense is run, it could happen again in 2014.
Some of that speculation comes from the New Orleans Saints history. Under Sean Payton -- and this is the offense Lombardi said his attack will be based on -- the Saints used more running backs in varying rushing and route-running situations than the Lions did last season, when the team primarily used Bush and Bell with small doses of then-rookie Theo Riddick.
Last season, no New Orleans running back had more than 150 carries, although four had at least 60. Two, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles, had more than 70 catches. That type of breakdown has been typical of a Saints' offense in recent years.
One of the other differences will be the use of a fullback. Detroit was determined during the offseason to find a fullback, and the team signed Jed Collins, who last played in New Orleans, to a one-year deal. They also envision Montell Owens, who was on the team last season but injured, as a hybrid fullback/halfback.
Does that change how Bush and Bell will run? Kind of.
“It’s just a guy in front of you,” Bush said. “The reads are a little bit different because you have to wait on the fullback to make their move and make their block.
“There’s a little bit more patience involved when you have a fullback in front of you as opposed to when you’re back there by yourself and you can just read the defense and you’re just waiting on the offensive line.”
This will be one piece of the offense for Detroit, a team that believes it has the personnel in place on that side of the ball to win.