Bush becomes potential help in run game

Posted by Darren Urban on November 25, 2014 – 4:58 pm

Who would have believed that it was the loss of Jonathan Dwyer that might’ve been one of the harshest the Cardinals suffered this season? But after the way Bruce Arians used Rashad Mendenhall and Andre Ellington last year at running back, he seemed poised to have a similar-if-flip-flopped move of Ellington this year getting more of the carries but Dwyer as a key component. Then Dwyer got into trouble off the field, was lost for the season, and there seemed to be an absence the Cards couldn’t make up. Not with Stepfan Taylor, not with Marion Grice.

So the Cardinals signed vet Michael Bush Tuesday and at 6-foot-1 and 245 pounds, he’s the inside load Ellington isn’t. Bush was cut by the Bears in March right around the beginning of free agency and didn’t get a gig until now. So he’s had no offseason, no training camp, no practice, and it would be foolish to expect him to step right in and make a huge impact. We’ll see if he can make any impact; I remember when the Cards were looking for backs and signed Chester Taylor near the beginning of the season and he just had nothing left. Bush has 809 career carries so there is wear on those tires. Ellington is still going to get the bulk of the work if and when Bush becomes part of the offensive equation.

But it makes sense the Cards were going to be proactive. The running game hadn’t done enough of late, and here’s a potential player of help.

Michael Bush

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49 Responses to “Bush becomes potential help in run game”

  1. By carlo milano on Nov 25, 2014 | Reply

    what s your opinion darren about our running game struggling so far.
    is not just guards play ,is a mix of things and probably ellington has lost a step considering the injury he has.
    do u thik is time to find a new center next season ?

  2. By Darren Urban on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    Carlo —

    RE Run game

    I wish I knew what it was. Too many moving parts for me, who doesn’t know exactly what they are trying to do, to know exactly. I don’t think it’s any one thing.

    As for center, they are always looking to upgrade everywhere.

  3. By krehbieo14 on Nov 25, 2014 | Reply

    Once again, Steve Keim did wonders in bringing in Josh Mauro for our defensive line. Wouldn’t it be great if Michael Bush could make a similar immediate impact with our running game?

  4. By Jim Schu on Nov 25, 2014 | Reply

    Darren, any chance the Cards take a look at McNabb just in case Stanton goes down/isn’t the answer?

    I know he has a house in Arizona.

  5. By Lee W. Flanagan on Nov 25, 2014 | Reply

    Glad to see that the Cardinals have made a move at the RB position. Much needed a huge guy to get the pile moving. Hopefully he is not a fumbler.

  6. By topdog9696 on Nov 25, 2014 | Reply

    The Running backs the Cards have in the backfield are not the problem,it’s the lack of a full back and better plays in the running game..So if Dwyer was still here or if they went picked up Adrian Peterson,we would still have problems in the running game..CHANGE RUNNIN THE PLAYS

  7. By cards62 on Nov 25, 2014 | Reply

    I like the signing. Plenty of time to have him ready for the playoffs and 809 caries is not that many over a 6 year period and he should be very fresh right now. I just hope he is in shape not football shape just physical fit shape and he can help us.

  8. By Scott H on Nov 25, 2014 | Reply

    Well….OK. It certainly can’t hurt. He has been effective at certain points in the past. Just not recently. One thing is for sure – it’s not like he has a million miles on the odometer. He’s not exactly used up. In that regard, that is a good thing. And we’re not asking him to come here and take on 20-25 carries a game.

    What I can’t ignore is the same general logic I would use in response to any player that just hasn’t been doing anything for anyone recently, and that is – how much can they possibly have to offer if they weren’t even on someone’s roster or even a practice squad? Been out there since March??? That just doesn’t bode well.

    And I’m wondering how we know Marion Grice couldn’t make up for the absence of Dwyer. WHEN did he ever get a chance??? Are the Cardinals THAT un-impressed with him??? Honestly, I would have thought we would have seen someone who’s BEEN on the roster get a chance to have an impact before we would bring in a vet that has been NOWHERE for the past year.

    But, whatever. It’s not gonna hurt.

    What IS gonna hurt is being without Fitz. Darren, is there any up-date on that at this point?

  9. By Darren Urban on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Fitz

    Fitz is day to day. But I won’t be surprised if he has to sit again.

  10. By Richard L on Nov 25, 2014 | Reply

    Seems to me that we are effective in the passing game throwing into the blitzing side of the defense. Stanton needs to audible the run game into the weak side when he sees pressure coming. QB play is important in the run game too. At the least they are sending a message to the team that the run game is important with the Bush signing. Keep up the pressure BA.

  11. By D on Nov 25, 2014 | Reply

    I see Keim addressing this in the draft, round 3 or later…BA just doesn’t run the ball as much as most teams, but you have to have a threat to keep defenses honest…right now defenses don’t respect AZ’s run game.

    I could see the defense have another 6-7 sack game vs Ryan…he doesn’t move much and players know where he will be in the pocket, especially with their makeshift Oline they currently have now.

  12. By robertlem373 on Nov 25, 2014 | Reply

    Good move

  13. By Chuck 1 on Nov 25, 2014 | Reply

    The Cards could have Jim Brown, Gayle Sayers and Sweetness, but if they don’t have a better O-Line it won’t make any difference.

  14. By georgiebird on Nov 25, 2014 | Reply

    Have to like SK for trying. Better late than never. The RB situation is not the only problem but it’s a big piece.
    All anyone has to do is look at the big runs of any week. You will find that the back gets hit- maybe once or twice- then breaks tackles and goes on for a long gain. Conversely, running backs who go thru clean holes are quickly tackled by pursuing linemen. But those RBs who can break tackles often find some open space ahead.
    AE has little ability to break tackles and frequently goes down with nothing more than arm contact. This is not to downgrade AE- the Cards are asking AE to do things that he can’t do. And AE can do a lot of things that Murray and Lynch can’t do.

  15. By Hector on Nov 25, 2014 | Reply

    The Cardinals looked to sign Tate while waivers and have now signed Bush, it of course seems that the Cardinals want a big back for that short yardage game or up the middle, any idea why we didn’t look into Legarrett Blount? The guy is big, quick, and agile also he is young and has a lot left in the tank. I understand he has some character issues but that’s of course something that could be implemented in his contact.

  16. By Darren Urban on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    Hector —

    RE: Blount

    “Some character issues”

    The guy has been cut four times in five years. Does that not raise a red flag?

  17. By Coach K on Nov 25, 2014 | Reply

    The good news is, Bush will be healthy and have fresh legs. I think it’s a good move to have a power back like Bush to compliment Ellington.

  18. By Dynosoar on Nov 25, 2014 | Reply


    thanks and yes, I do remember how many negative nancys we used to have.

    I think the Lions game was Stanton’s best that I have watched. I also believe BA wouldn’t have proclaimed him the starter before Palmer became available unless he could Be a starter.

    You may very well have a point that even though he’s mentally prepared, it’s different to be physically prepared and that takes reps, reps the second stringer doesn’t get.

    I do believe we can win the Super Bowl this year, but it’s getting tougher to see it.
    It’s like driving my car and I can see for miles, then the rains come and my defroster doesn’t work and while I can still see to drive, the window is becoming foggy. I just hope it clears up and clears up soon.

    I am intrigued by the signing of Bush. I wish I understood why no one speaks of Hughes, from what little I’ve seen I think he could be the back to compliment Ellington. Obviously I don’t see as much as the coaches, but from what I have seen…

  19. By Dynosoar on Nov 25, 2014 | Reply


    I asked rod because we’re all in this together. The same reason I ask for insights and offer them myself, the camaraderie on this site is quite real and engaging. As to his next prediction being about the world ending, that would be a miracle. Haha. He actually gave some insight into Stanton I hadn’t thought of.


    The Lombardi trophy or nothing at all!

    I talk of the Super Bowl because it’s still possible and isn’t that the goal of every season.


    we’ve had 17 sacks in three games and you want something more in the pass rush? That’s a far cry better than 8 sacks in 8 games. And we have Shaugnessy returning which should help, if he gets back on the field. I am curious, with 17 sacks, where do you feel we could improve on pass rush. (Obviously, a pass rush that forces more turnovers would be better.)

  20. By Dynosoar on Nov 25, 2014 | Reply

    Does anyone know, have we averaged more or less turnovers with the anemic 8 sacks over 8 games or with 17 sacks over 3 games? It would be interesting if we forced more turnovers with a poorer pass rush.

    With our secondary as good as it is, maybe we want to force QBs to throw into an interception rather than sacking them. But sacks usually lead to punts, so either way.

  21. By WVcardFan on Nov 25, 2014 | Reply

    Still think Benjarvus Green-Ellis would have been a smarter pick-up. Good between the Tackles, doesn’t fumble, and most importantly- solid in Pass Pro. Plus, not as much wear on the tires.

  22. By Dre on Nov 25, 2014 | Reply

    I wanted him before the bears got him the first time the good thing is he been a back up most of the time. He huge and fast hope he’s in shape so he can’t get on the field

  23. By TucsonTim on Nov 25, 2014 | Reply

    I was highly critical of Keim for not getting the edge rusher we obviously needed. GOOD JOB with Mauro!

    Bush just needs a little gas left in the tank. Remember when Edge came to life at the very end of 2008. Just a little bit of a real rushing game is sometimes all it takes.

    Clearly our current running game has been DOA and there were no signs of life. Good luck Mr. Bush. And btw much better choice than Bibbs. That seemed a little too desperate.

    And well done Mr. Keim.

  24. By Sean on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    It’s hard to criticize a 9-1 coach, but I feel our running game is terrible for a few reasons. Starting with the O-line. I criticized Lyle Sendlein’s play on this blog before the beginning of the season & was told by many I was crazy, including Darren…who also let me know that would never happen, because he was so beloved by our coaching staff. I wonder if that sentiment has now changed? #2 is because Darren College is way better than Ted Larsen, as Larsen sucks bad! #3 BA’s play calling is so predictable this year, that it has made it hard to watch games. It seems to be run, run, pass, & every team is loading the box waiting on it. which puts a lot of pressure on any O-line & QB when they continue to pass on 3rd & long. I still believe that we are one of the best coached teams in the league, but BA’s play calling has got to change. BA needs to be just as unpredictable on offense as Bowls is on defense, & that’s not happening right now. At the very least, use the pass to setup the run #4 Everyone is fine with using Ellington more, but NOT as a freaking power back! WTF is that about?? Last year he treated Ellington like glass, & this year he’s beating the Cr*p out of him! You have Taylor for your battering ram, use him. If he’s no good get somebody else then…hopefully Bush can be the big back we need at this time. I’m not to the point of blaming Stanton for anything yet, until BA gets his play calling straight! I don’t mind losing, but to watch the offensive play calling as being a major contributor to that, is very frustrating! Lastly, pass rusher, center & power RB need to be major priorities this off season, & I completely trust in Keim to take care of everything as the best GM in the game….then BA can be as predictable as he wants!

  25. By much.faster on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    good, he adds depth.
    and now, what does tod bowles think of shaun phillips?
    could he catch escaping QBs?

  26. By wonderingwhy on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    If our blocking sux and we cant win at the line of scrimmage then we could have adrian peterson back there and it would not make a bit of difference. Just an observation.

  27. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    Yep, good move. Keep searching Keim, eventually you’ll find the acorn. Churned thru several b4 got Tommy Kelly and Josh Mauro…

    Darren: Why can’t Hughes fill this role?

  28. By Darren Urban on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    DTL —

    RE: Hughes

    Apparently they don’t see him as a ballcarrier.

  29. By Big Ken on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    New ‘Bus’ in town with good tread on his wheels. I like it, veteran RB. Thanks Coach K for that highlight reel. Good to see you blogging again.

  30. By Dynosoar on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    The disparity between our
    defense……………………………………….and ……………………………………offense…
    is enormous.

    DR. G.

    if a pictures worth a thousand words, this was worth a thousand and three.

  31. By Dynosoar on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    Patrick Hoog aka Don’t Take Losses,

    Thanks, I get excited and get ahead of myself (just wanted that clarified. Haha.) I know what we’re doing here with a home field advantage in the Super Bowl. My goal every year is the Super Bowl win, has been forever and this is one of the few years that part way through the season I still can hold on to that goal.

    At week thirteen I can still hold onto that goal and even if we lose the next three games, I can hold on to that goal. How awesome is that!

    I won’t lose sight of what we’re doing, I’ll just slow down on my “bold” predictions (I have to say though, it was really fun to think of them and write them up).

    Thanks for wishing me calm, I have young children at home, am involved in Boy Scouts (signed the papers for a Scout to begin his Eagle Project last night) and am a fencing coach…

    And am a Cardiac Cards fan.

    I could use a little more calm in my life. Haha!

    The Lombardi trophy or nothing at all!

  32. By Dynosoar on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    Jim Schu,

    I was thinking the same thing, I mean he has that house. Haha! That was awesome! Touche.

  33. By rod on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply


    Thumbs up!

  34. By clssylssy on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    Well, this seems to be a good pickup but I have the same concerns as Scott H. about a player who has been out of the action since March…what took so long in bringing him aboard? As far as LaGarrett Blount…yeah, he has had some character issues and has been cut four time however, he has also been resigned by the Patriots. I think these “problematic” players sometimes respond to the team environment they are in and have issues because they don’t have the strong leadership in the organization, both in the locker room with their teammates but also with the coaching staff..good example, Tommy Kelly when he was with the Raiders. It’s kinda like parenting and leading by example. For the relatively short haul and in a stable environment LaGarret Blount might have been just what we needed to get us through this final and most critical stretch. I think we have the coaching staff to handle him and perhaps even make something of him, still it was a patch job.
    Everyone is asking why BA isn’t passing more which should be obvious in the balls dropped and misses which can’t be laid solely at the feet of the QB. Without Fitz, running the ball has been our safest alternative and I think probably kept the loss to Seattle down to within the realm of possibility for a turnover from our secondary.
    The Seattle game was MUCH more significant than anyone wants to believe as far as our playoff hopes and especially a number one seed. I think just about every analyst has that going to Green Bay now as they’re really killing their opponents by blowout scores. We have to have this road game against the Falcons and even with our defense and their weak ground game, I still believe we need veteran leadership on the offense that has totally disappeared since Fitz was injured.
    LOVE your energy and enthusiasm but I want to get to the playoffs with a Division Championship flag to fly in UofP stadium not just as a wildcards that has to then play at Lambeau Field! GO CARDS! THIS IS A MUST WIN!.

  35. By Scott H on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    Darren –

    In regard to Blount, can you clarify – was he the same situation as Tate, where he had to clear waivers and the Cardinals were at the end of that line? Just curious. Because when I saw that the Pats picked him up, I wondered if Blount really got that close to where we COULD have picked him up. Didn’t know if his circumstances were any different.

    I hear you about the possible red flags that might be involved there. But I ask you – since when do the Patriots take reckless chances on guys with bad character? Not saying everyone is wrong about Blount, but….I agree with what someone else said about how “bad character guys” can often be better managed and behaved in environments where there is more discipline and control. – which I believe the Cardinals have. Regardless, he would have been a MAJOR asset to this team with what he does on the field during the game. And, really, we would have only needed him for the stretch run and whatever lies beyond. Not like we would be be looking to sign him to a 2-3 year deal.

    He has already had an impact in NE and I am confident he will continue to do so. And it’s gonna kill me to see that as I watch the Cardinals continue to struggle running the ball ( if, in fact, they do ).

    BTW, I am aware that the Pats HAVE brought in some problem-children ( Randy Moss, Ocho Cinco ) BUT they have NEVER let it disrupt their environment. Moss had a career season there ( which certainly helped them ), and they parted ways with him when he no longer served a purpose. Chad Johnson was a total non-factor and they let that go as long it needed to. And through it all, the Patriots continued to be the Patriots. So…maybe they do take calculated chances with some guys, but it always under control there. I would like to think the Cardinals could do the same.

  36. By Darren Urban on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Blount

    Blount cleared waivers. No one claimed him.

  37. By SunGodAZ on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    Maybe Ellington is great coming off the bench…like last year…and not so good as a starter…Lot’s of players are like that. if he thinks he is THE MAN and not a change of speed back, then he better run a little harder IMHO.

  38. By robert on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    COOPER..he must really be a bust not to be inserted into an O LINE what can’t run block. BA has done so many things right at least in my opinion, but handling Ellington the way he is using him is going to kill him.He will never make the playoffs and be upright.

    Darren..Please respond on the ellington comment and COOPER

  39. By Scott H on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    Darren –

    ARGH! NOW, I wish I didn’t know that. I just find it hard to believe you let a guy like Blount ( younger, active, effective ) go, then you bring in Michael Bush. I understand bringing in Bush if no one like Blount is / becomes available, but…whatever. What’s done is done. If Blount fizzles in NE, it will show maybe the Cardinals were right to stay away. But if he truly continues to be an asset to the Patriots and looks like a piece that really helped them put it all together, then it will be hard to understand how a team as limited at RB as the Cardinals were at the time he was available said no thanks.

  40. By clssylssy on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    It will be interesting to see if the Broncos end up signing Richie Incognito. IMO, LaGarrett Blount has less baggage and would be less of a risk with a bigger upside…just say’n. As we near playoff time, I have a feeling we will see a lot of teams taking risks on controversial characters they would normally find ill suited to their locker rooms.

  41. By Redbird174 on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    Good Direction
    Crank up the running game with addition of a vet,to shake things up,churn up the roster,AE,great potential weapon ailing with injury issues,the Grice good potential RB,unproven scored in Red Zone,a couple games,Taylor good young battering Ram,currently coming back from injury,Hughes more of a full back,great hand,excellent blocker,yet to be seen in WR or RB,couple of snaps,mainly a blocker,now they have a Potential Power back,great pick up,shades of EJ,fantastic job by SK,as for BA’s coaching style,I ain’t complaining,10-6 last season,just missed the post season,this year 9-2,two loses by considerable margins to last years SB finalist, let the man do his thing,change nothing,The man can coach,straight up and down.SK is superb at churning the roster.

  42. By Dr. G. on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    Darren – – Bush and Palmer shared 10 games in 2011for Oakland… Did Carson have some input on this acquisition? And, if so, it must have been positive. Have you heard what Palmer may have said to get this done? Thx

  43. By Darren Urban on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    Dr. G —

    RE: Palmer

    I have not heard anything.

  44. By Dr. G. on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    Darren – – I have not had time to read all the posts and articles yet, but I had just one other thing… You must be aware that Bush had a steel rod installed to reinforce his broken tibia in 2007. Do you know if it is still there, and can we assume that he got a clean bill from the MDs and Coaches to bang in there? He was drafted and immediately place on PUP list for the entire year. This seems like the same thing Cooper had…?? Awful…

    Thanks, and have a Happy Thanksgiving….

  45. By Dr. G. on Nov 26, 2014 | Reply

    Sean – – Very bold post….your passion is obvious about the play calling…

    Read on Cards Fans..this will surprise…editorial on my part. I expect responses.

    Check this out – – BA said in an interview before last season, “”I will call the plays until I can find someone to do it better.”” Remember? That may be paraphrased a bit, but it is accurate. No obvious effort has been made to consider anyone. BA is an Offensive coach at heart who loves calling the plays. This is his destiny calling. Being the HC allows him to call the shots. He basically gives the Defense to Bowles and trusts it to be on auto-pilot. Bowles has done more than a superb job… ((Atlanta will call soon))

    When a team has an OC who calls the plays, he has someone to whom he must be accountable, the HC. And the detail is not confused with other distractions. As it is now, BA has no one at the field level to hold him accountable. ((Keim is busy)) That is the way BA has designed it, because he is the OC with the HC’s title. ((Whizenhunt is coming to mind))

    Now, Harold Goodwin’s name has rarely surfaced in any of these articles or posts to really, really, be the OC…the OC… Here’s the rub… ((Bio)) Goodwin has worked for Arians for the past 8 years following him around. Before that he had some minor assistant positions in college. We just get a sound bite now and then of him saying the O-line needs to play better. Goody just contributes what he can and makes no waves. It appears he is held in check.

    We all love BA, but should there be someone who will evaluate his performance weekly and report to Keim & the media how things are going? That’s just business… Wins & Losses are just not enough. Every other field performer is expected to be accountable… win or lose. I think BA would better serve himself and the team if he supervised the Defense and the Offense with an objective eye. HE CANNOT DO THAT AS THINGS ARE NOW. . Be well…

  46. By cards62 on Nov 27, 2014 | Reply

    Very insightful comments this year. Lots of fans sharing great thoughts on our team.

    Sean – Agree with you on center Lyle S. as you can go back and read my posts from years ago as I wanted an upgrade. Lyle is a smart, 100% effort, class act so there is much for coaches and teammates to like, but I have just seen him get blown up too many times. Darren is just telling you like he told me that a change is not coming any time soon and I believe him. Another guy like Lyle and not even as talented was CB Money Mike, but a great person and teammate but I cringed every time he took the field on defense. We had him for several years, but finally was upgraded so hang in there Sean as I have confidence Steve K. will make this change based upon our other needs next year or the year after.

    SunGodAz – Ellington is my favorite running back on our team and that would not change no matter who we picked up on waivers and he is a starter in this league. So very talented, but sometimes you need a bigger guy depending on the situation, and guys do get tired and hurt. Start Ellin gton and have him average 15-20 touches a game as our featured back. Ellington is going down way too easy right now so we need a bigger back in certain situations

    Scott H. I agree with you on using Grice more and seeing how talented he is, but I do not think it hurts to also bring in Bush as a backup plan. Sit Bush next couple of weeks and give Grice some carries. I also agree with you on talent concerning Blount over Bush, but we all know with Blount it is not a question of if he is going to embarrass our club as it is only a matter of when and to what extent he will embarrass us all. Remember I am the guy who wanted Hernandez over Roberts a few years ago in the draft and I was right from a talent and production view point, but at what price do we want to pay? I think we all have to answer that for ourselves and I am not saying Blount will do anything close to what Hernandez did, but this dude has some major Anger Management issues. I admit I was wrong about Hernandez glad he never wore the same uniform as a Pat Tillman, Fitz, Warner, Dierdorf, Wilson, Williams, or any of our other greats.

    Dr. G I answered you on an earlier post, but in short I think Keim will monitor the situation and adjust if necessary, but right now at 9-2 and with our injuries just is not the time for change in my opinion.

    Well guys and gals its turkey time and football time so Happy Thanksgiving to one and all as today is only one of two days (4th of July American Bald Eagle) that the Cardinal is not my favorite bird.

  47. By BW on Nov 27, 2014 | Reply

    playcalling is weak. how many plays were wasted last week trying to run when running wasn’t working? it was predictable that first down was going to be a run. talk about giving the opponent an advantage…..

  48. By TucsonTim on Nov 27, 2014 | Reply

    Blount cleared waivers!?

    I think 130 yds rushing in the last 3 games is a much bigger red flag.

  49. By Scott H on Nov 28, 2014 | Reply

    Tuscon Tim –

    I’m with ya there, bro. I think he was worth a shot. We weren’t asking Blount to come here and save our season. If he starts trouble, you cut him loose. Bush would probably still be available. He has been since March…

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