Kansas City Chiefs

Dolphins, Bush find reasons for optimism

DAVIE, Fla. —Reggie Bush has always considered it his responsibility to keep the locker room upbeat.

That applies more than ever now.

His breakout game might have come last weekend, when he ran for 103 yards against the New York Giants — just his second 100-plus-yard effort as a pro. Nonetheless, the Miami Dolphins lost again, falling to 0-7 on the season. Things don't get a whole lot easier this weekend either for Miami, with it heading to Kansas City to visit the surging Chiefs.

"All we can do is believe," Bush said. As athletes, as people, the belief system, the belief in yourself, it always starts there. So that's what we got to just focus on. Continue believing in ourselves and believe, 'Hey, we're going to get one of these.' And then we're going to worry about the next one. But right now we're just worrying about getting that first one."

There's some statistical oddities about Bush gaining over 100 yards last weekend. It's happened twice in his NFL career, both times on the road against the Giants. And it marked the first time since 2001 that he topped the 100-yard mark and his team lost anyway.

The last time that happened, he was a junior.

In high school.

That's how bad things are for the Dolphins these days.

"He definitely has the ability to fire guys up just with his play and guys kind of latch onto that and go with it," Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore said. "The good thing about Reggie is he'll make a big play or two but when it's not there it's not kind of doom and gloom. He's the same guy that way, you know what I mean? But he's definitely a guy that can create a fire and guys feed off that."

Bush came to Miami believing that he could prove himself as an elite runner, if only for the opportunity. Now, he's getting that chance.

His 15 carries last weekend were his most since Sept. 21, 2008. He's already gotten more than double his rush attempts from last season in New Orleans, 36 then compared to 75 and still counting now. Bush is on pace for career-bests in carries and yardage, and says he's handling the physical demands of a larger workload just fine.

"Our energy has never been questioned," Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said. "Our effort hasn't really been questioned. But just our efficiency is what needs to get better. That's something in all phases that we got to continue to work hard at. I love this team's energy."

At 26, Bush is hardly a graybeard in the Dolphins' locker room. But this is his sixth NFL season already, and his first five years with the Saints taught him plenty of things he can pass along.

Even now, Bush says he's relying on things he learned as a rookie studying with and playing behind Deuce McAllister.

"Just passing it down and trying to be a vocal leader and just staying positive," Bush said. "I think body language says a lot. I think really guys see that. You don't want to practice bad body language no matter what the record is, what the score is. You always want to stay positive and upbeat."

So that's the approach he takes onto the practice field, into the locker room, and especially into games.

The trick now is channeling it into a win.

"We can't worry. All we can do is win one game," Bush said. "It's the same thing every week. We can only win one game this weekend. It takes one practice at a time and we got to focus on the execution because our effort is there."