Friday, May 17, 2013
Receiving opportunities for Forte, Bush
By Kevin Seifert
Reggie Bush's appearance Friday morning on the NFL Network reinforced what should be a fun 2013 trend in at least two sectors of the NFC North: Running backs catching passes. Lots of them.
How many? Well, we can say this: We have two connections to this chart of the most catches in a season by a running back in the NFL's post-merger era.
First, you might recall that Bush caught 88 passes for the New Orleans Saints in 2006, the start of a four-year stretch in which he made 260 receptions. Bush said Friday morning that the Detroit Lions' offense appears set to use him in a way similar to the Saints'.
"It's a lot like what we did in New Orleans," Bush said "It's a lot of spread ... passing. Obviously we can attack downfield, and with the running game. A lot of screens, draws. Just basically everything I did in New Orleans."
Meanwhile, Chicago Bears tailback Matt Forte will be playing in a scheme that got Charlie Garner 91 receptions for the Oakland Raiders in 2002. Bears coach Marc Trestman, of course, was the Raiders' offensive coordinator at the time.
Forte had at least 50 receptions in his first four seasons before dipping to 44 last season. He has proved to be an adept route runner in addition to excelling on screen plays and short passes into the flat.
"I would expect [to be used more in the new offense]," Forte told reporters last month. "Coach Trestman, I think he said he watched a lot of film on me and has seen me run different routes. So we'll get back to catching the ball out of the backfield like we did the prior years."
So we have two offenses that have supported 88-plus receptions by a running back in previous incarnations. Could Bush or Forte approach that number? Why not?
Related: Bush also appeared Friday morning on ESPN Radio. Here is a link.