The loss of Reggie Bush is a big deal for the Saints. The multi-dimensional Bush represents coach Sean Payton’s biggest chess piece on offense.
The threat of Bush for defenses is almost as big as his actual presence. His speed worries teams to death, and his ability to get to the perimeter on any given play opens up things for other players and how Payton can use them.
Don’t forget the return game, where every team must decide whether or not they want to punt to Bush.
Payton’s offense is about matchups, and he can find the favorable matchup with Bush a few times per game, putting fear in the opposition. You can’t really replace Bush, and Pierre Thomas isn’t built to take 300 carries. Payton has a good eye for running backs, and my guess is Ladell Betts and Chris Ivory will get some looks.
Without Bush, the Saints are still great offensively. Just not as feared.
– Brian Baldinger