The Detroit Lions have the NFL's second-worst run game. Reggie Bush knows this as much as he knows the run game has to improve if the Lions want to make the playoffs.
"We've got to be better, especially second half of the season when games start to become more important is when you really need your run game, especially on the road," Bush said Wednesday. "We've got some tough road games coming up.
"Obviously, we're not thinking about that right now. We're thinking about the Miami Dolphins. We've got to improve week to week. We've got to get better. We can't stay the same."
Bush, who said he would return Sunday from a one-game absence with an ankle injury, and Joique Bell have been the one-two punch out of the backfield. But mostly they've been the ones getting slapped around by defenses. Bush averages 3.5 yards per carry, Bell 3.2.
"We take it very personally," Bush said. "It's on us. There's nobody to point the finger at other than it's the running backs, the offensive line, the tight ends, the receivers. It's everybody altogether collectively. It takes 11 guys to run the football."
And one of those 11 guys this week might be Calvin Johnson as he prepares to return from a three-game absence. Johnson changes the way defenses attack the offense.
"It's going to help me because they won't be able to put the safety in the box," Bush said. "But obviously having Calvin out there is always a huge difference-maker for defenses and the way they can play us, ways that when we scout other teams a lot of stuff they do for other teams they really can't do against us because of us because of Calvin and his ability to be able to break open a long touchdown from anywhere on the field."
Bush said it has been hard to identify one reason for the run game's struggles.
"I think it's a little bit of everything," he said. "I think it's a little bit of the running back being patient, taking the proper steps, the little things that maybe the average person may not notice. The receivers blocking, the offensive line know who to get and knowing how to block them. Obviously, not having Calvin in there, too, makes a difference."
Bush played for the Dolphins in 2011-12. But he said there's no animosity between him and his former team.
"No," he said. "Just looking to get a win. That's it."
By Carlos Monarrez | freep.com | November 6, 2014