New Orleans Saints RB Reggie Bush enjoyed a productive season in 2009 as he got healthier as the season went on following microfracture surgery. At his best in the playoffs, he became only the second NFL player to score touchdowns on a rush, reception, punt return and touchdown in the same postseason. 18 months away from the surgery, Bush talked to the New Orleans and New England media following Wednesday's joint practice with the Patriots about his increasing confidence, the week of work with the Patriots, as well as rookie TE Jimmy Graham. Below is a transcript.
Q: Can you talk about the week of work?
A:They're a really good team. I think we got a lot out of it. It was very productive for us. Hopefully it will carry over to tomorrow and we'll see what happens.
Q: What do you make of the Patriots saying that they're trying to measure up to the Saints?
A:I guess that's a compliment seeing that an organization that we kind of want to be like with everything they've done in their careers is where we're trying to get to. We have a long way to go, but we're just taking it one game at a time. We're just trying to finish our final practice before the game tomorrow and we'll see what happens tomorrow. Like I said, we're just trying to take it one game at a time.
Q: People were alarmed yesterday when you didn't take part in the afternoon practice. Was there any reason for that?
A:No, just a little dehydration and cramps in my legs. Other than that it was nothing serious. Practicing today everything was fine. It was just a little bit more precautionary than anything to make sure I was 100 percent for this preseason game tomorrow. I'll be full go tomorrow in the preseason game.
Q: How productive have these practices been as opposed to just butting heads with people on your own team?
A: I think it's been very beneficial, because it gives us the chance to look at a different defense and offense and go up against a different team entirely, giving us a chance to compete. Some of the guys that are draft picks and undrafted free agents, it gives them an opportunity to compete and earn their spot. It was really productive at the end of the day.
Q: Has the approach changed since the 2007 season following a successful 2006 where then you started off 0-4?
A:Our whole mentality has changed having won the Super Bowl last year. We have a lot of experienced guys on our team now. We've been through a lot. I think that's prepared us hopefully for years to come we can keep this group and organization together for a couple years and go on a pretty solid run here and be a contender year in and year out.
Q: Did you talk to Lynell Hamilton on that play after he came off the field?
A:I was talking to him and asking him how he felt. Obviously it has something to do with his knee. I don't know exactly because I'm not a doctor and I wasn't back there, but I'm hoping for the best and praying for him. Obviously I'm going to go back there and check up on him as soon as I'm done with you guys.
Q: Did the playoffs help build up your confidence?
A:I think it is a little bit of confidence. Coming off of a microfracture surgery that takes a huge blow to an athlete's confidence and I think the biggest thing we have as athletes is your self-confidence. I think when you chip away at that; it's tough for us to be who we are. I think once I became healthy as the games progressed throughout the season, I think we started to see a healthy me and more explosive me and then I was back to myself. I was confident and felt great. I think it definitely has a lot to do with the confidence factor.
Q: How much do you expect to play tomorrow night and how much do you have to play in the preseason to be effective?
A:*It's up to coach Payton. I'm not exactly sure, so I can't speculate on how much I will and won't play. I'm just ready to go tomorrow and we'll see what happens. I'm looking forward to this preseason game against the Patriots though. *
Q: Can you talk about some of the rookies on your team?
A:Jimmy Graham has done a great job this training camp. He's really impressed me with his knowledge of the game and his speed with his size. He's a really good athlete. I'm looking forward to a lot of productivity out of him. Some of the other guys like Chris Ivory, Sean (Canfield) the quarterback and the rookie cornerback (Patrick Robinson). We're looking forward to getting a lot of production out of those guys.
Q: Can you talk about guys on the Patriots talking about using you guys as a measuring stick?
A:I think that's probably based on what you did last year. I think when you look at it from an organization standpoint and what they've been able to do, we look up to them more, because we're trying to get to where they have and what (Bill) Belichick has done with this team, the amount of championships he's won and them just being a contender year in and year out, I think that's where we want to get to. We had our first taste of success really last year and in my rookie year. There hasn't been that much. That's where we want to get to. We want to be a constant contender year in and year out, just constantly winning games.
Q: Do you see the Patriots defense communicating better than on the Monday night game when you played them last year?
A:I think maybe last year we caught them off guard a little bit. When you practice against a team, they get to look at you a little more, so I don't think we'll be hanging 38 on them tomorrow, but I think it will be a tough test tomorrow. That's what we're here for. That's what the preseason's for. It's all about competing and getting better and progressing into that first game of the season. We look forward to this game tomorrow and I think it will be a tough contest.
Q: Did that Malcolm Jenkins dance routine during stretch catch you by surprise?
A:No because we have quite a few guys with us that were in fraternities in college and we joke around with them about the little dances, the fraternity dance. I don't know what it's called. I play football. I didn't do the fraternity thing in college. They do it every now and then and they brag about it. When the song came on that's the song they do the dance to.
Q: Did you guys encourage him?
A:We did encourage him. When you're a rookie you have to do what your told. It was his time.