Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

25 Sep 2007

Deuce McAllister Tears ACL, Done For Season

And the news keeps getting worse down in New Orleans. ESPN is reporting that Deuce McAllister suffered an ACL tear during the Saints' 31-14 loss to Tennessee. This could mean an increased workload for Reggie Bush, but it's just as likely to translate into additional carries for Aaron Stecker. Saints fans may officially start panicking.

Posted by: Sean McCormick on 25 Sep 2007

52 comments, Last at 27 Sep 2007, 10:50am by dryheat

Comments

1
by Francisco (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 3:39am

Well I suppose they can't be too much worse.

2
by ernie cohen (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:47am

I feel for NO fans. But don't worry - according to the Adidas commercial, Reggie Bush is unstoppable except for sometimes bouncing off at the goal line. (Which I guess means that his average carry starts at the 3.6.)

3
by andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 8:23am

So... Glenn Dorsey would look good in a Saints uniform...

4
by RickD (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 8:27am

This kind of thing seems to happen every season in the NFC South. Whoever was the dominant team the previous season gets smacked by injuries the following season, while the team counted out by everybody (this year, the Bucs, last year the Saints) feasts on a weak schedule and wins a ton of games. All four teams seem to alternate between being a Super Bowl contender and a last-place team.

5
by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 9:32am

Just like Buckhalter, you can't spell McAllister without the letters ACL.

I guess the Saints will now see their overhyped and overpaid first round draft pick of last year totally exposed.

6
by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 9:36am

How long before the Reggie Bush experiment fails?

7
by C (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 9:51am

DVOA is a cruel mistress.

8
by Spike (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 10:14am

Speaking of breaking news...are we leaving off with anything about the DEA steroid investigation? Too murky to discuss at this point?

9
by mactbone (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 11:01am

Re 8:
Yeah, I don't think it's a football issue yet. We need something mroe than, a bunch of steroid labs were raided to connect it football in a way that could actually be discussed here.

Re 4:
C'mon, last place schedule? You mean the two teams that are different?

10
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 11:09am

I'd say it's more a case of variation between above average and rotten being quite easy to come by, and the division hasn't featured a team that was much more than above average since 2003.

11
by Disco Stu (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 11:59am

I don't get all the Reggie Bush hate on these boards. What he is right now- a top-level scatback that needs to be paired w another guy to complete the offense. Brian Westbrook, Tiki Barber- most shifty little guys start as part of a platoon.

As long as Stecker is servicable, the Saints will be fine. And by "fine", I mean "prob as good as they were w Deuce- headed for 6-10"

12
by CA (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 12:14pm

Meh. They lost a guy who has had only two positive DVOA seasons ever (and none that were strongly positive) at one of the most fungible positions in the sport and one at which they use a committee approach. It doesn't sound like that big of a deal to me.

13
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 12:16pm

"don’t get all the Reggie Bush hate on these boards. What he is right now- a top-level scatback that needs to be paired w another guy to complete the offense."

But hes not even that. Hes a mediocre scat back at this point. He dances too much, doesn't take yards when theyre available, and gets hit behind the LOS way too often when he could get 3 or 4.

He wasnt that way at the end of the year last year, but he is now.

14
by Sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 12:23pm

11: Totally agree. Lots of negativity for a guy with tons of talent. And Bush wasn't the one who committed 5 turnovers last night.

15
by Sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 12:25pm

"He dances too much, doesn’t take yards when theyre available, and gets hit behind the LOS way too often when he could get 3 or 4."

Are we talking about Barry Sanders?

16
by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 12:40pm

The Bush hate comes from the endless hype shoved down our throats when he has done nothing to warrant it.

At this point Bush is most definitely not like Sanders, Tiki, or Westbrook. Those guys got/get positive yards in big chunks.

Bush has yet to break a single big run.

17
by mactbone (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 12:54pm

Re 15:
Commentary in DVOA rankings for 1996.
I originally had it in here and I guess I edited it out at some point by accident, but Sanders does lead the league in running back DPAR by a very hefty margin, 42.3 DPAR, with Terrell Davis second at 30.6. (Something close to that, I don’t have the numbers in front of me right now.)
:: Aaron Schatz — 6/26/2007 @ 7:45 pm

18
by Disco Stu (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 12:58pm

Bush isn't like Westbrook? Westbrook was a punt returner and committe member for two years before Philly turned over the offense to him. Westbrook actually seems the best comp for Bush.

Who cares about the hype? The guy is a talented player. So what if NFL Countdown has puff pieces on him every other week. The hate should be towards NFL Countdown.

19
by dryheat (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 1:01pm

Just like Buckhalter, you can’t spell McAllister without the letters ACL.

Clever.

Does this mean preseason hero Pierre Thomas gets some snaps? I'm thinking of picking him up in my fantasy league. What's the feeling among Saint fandom?

20
by Coach Tuesday (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 1:02pm

Glad I just traded for him in my fantasy league. Did I mention that I'm also a Bills fan?

Please kill me.

21
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 1:23pm

11

The thing about Bush isn't that people hate him so much as the media has been portraying him to be the next Barry Sanders/Gale Sayers explsoive runner. Every time I've seen him play, he's never shown me anything he can do that a bunch of current RBs can't.

and comparing him to Westbrook and Tiki isn't accurate. Those guys are top level scatbacks, receivers, and solid runners. The Running Back most similiar to Reggie Bush IMO is a younger Kevin Faulk.

22
by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 1:24pm

Bush isn’t like Westbrook? Westbrook was a punt returner and committe member for two years before Philly turned over the offense to him. Westbrook actually seems the best comp for Bush.

Westbrook was not a punt returner in 2002. That was Brian Mitchell's job. He was just a bench player. He was the kick/punt returner in 2003, as well as the starter for half the games and he got the most yards and touchdowns out of the three headed monster. In 2004 he became the starting running back with most of the carries. That really doesn't resemble Bush's career at all.

And like I said, Bush has yet to have a run over 18 yards after 184 attempts. That's pathetic.

Its funny to laugh at after we had to listen to him be canonized and inducted into the hall of fame before he ever played a down just because he ran wild over Fresno State as a college kid.

23
by MC2 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 1:26pm

"The hate should be towards NFL Countdown."

Why split hairs? There's plenty of hate to go around.

Seriously, though, I've always had a soft spot for the Saints (even before the hurricane). Still, I have to admit that it warms my heart a bit to see Bush struggle, after every single one of ESPN's talking heads described him as "a once in a generation player", "the next Gale Sayers", "Sanders and LT rolled into one", "a guy that any team would be fools not to draft", etc.

24
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 2:25pm

I hear what you guys are saying about Bush. After watching him play several games over the last two seasons, I doubt he'll ever become an every down back. I haven't paid enough attention but I suspect his blocking skills are lackluster. I don't think he'll ever be more than a gimmick player and a decoy, but, with that in mind, I think Sean Payton has been utilizing him correctly for the most part. Last night I did see a couple of gut runs that I thought Stecker could have handled better.

Of course, Payton's first offensive play last night was a reverse. When will NFL coaches learn?

25
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 2:26pm

"Who cares about the hype? The guy is a talented player."

No, NFL countdown is telling us he has talent. So far he looks no different than any other scatback. Hes not even the best scatback to come out of that draft. I'd question if hes even in the top 5 RBs to come out of that draft.

Theres absolutely no evidence that Reggie Bush is ever going to be anything more than Kevin Faulk.

26
by Sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 2:27pm

"And like I said, Bush has yet to have a run over 18 yards after 184 attempts. That’s pathetic."

Of course, he does have an 88 yard TD reception and a 65 yard punt return for TD. That's not so pathetic.

27
by PaulH (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 2:42pm

I have to agree with the Reggie critics to an extent here.

The kid obviously has a lot of talent, but he isn't producing a whole lot right now. He looked good at the end of last season, but it's easy to see that he has regressed by this point.

And you are right, Sundown, he has done some nice things as a receiver and as a returner, but at the end of the day he is a tailback, and he is going to have eventually run the ball successfully. You don't spend the #2 overall pick in the draft just to get a good receiver out of the backfield and a good punt returner. You expect more than that.

And the longest carry of 18 yards really says a lot. This is a guy who is supposedly Mr. Big Play, and 18 yards is it? Hell, I bet even Bettis in his last year had runs of longer than 18, that's just unacceptable.

Reggie reminds me of what I hear about Vince Carter all of the time: very talented, no doubt, but largely a guy who won't do all of that great, but will have some big highlights occasionally that the talking heads will go nuts over.

Flashy? Yes. Consistent productive star player? No.

And the hype is completely unjustified. He ripped up the Pac-10, and that was it. Even against Texas he had a bit of a quite night. Sure he's talented, but the truth is that there are a hell of a lot of other backs I would much rather have over Reggie. At the very least, he certainly doesn't seem to be the one-in-a-generation player that all of the talking heads predicted.

Truth be told, the Texans may have made a mistake by drafting Williams, but it wasn't because they didn't take Bush.

And Glenn Dorsey would look damn good in any NFL jersey. I still can't believe that guy didn't go pro after last year.

28
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 3:01pm

I question if Reggie is "obviously has a lot of talent". I think if it was obvious, people wouldn't spend so much time talking about how much talent he had, they'd be talking about his production.

I really think that Reggie Bush the media image is why people make statements like that. It's obvious because they're told frequently how good he is, despite when you watch him in the NFL he hasn't done anything. If you take a player with the same exact skill set, measurables, ability, et all and make him a 4th round draft pick on another team, nobody spends time talking about how talented he is. That's all just a result of his college production and hype, nothing he's done in the league.

29
by David (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 3:22pm

Another part of it is that his team improved by eight wins as soon as he joined it, so the assumption, fed by all that hype, is that of course he had something to do with it.

30
by Disco Stu (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 3:59pm

True... i guess if he had all that talent he would have outrun the Diet Pepsi machine.

31
by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:31pm

sundown #26:

Of course, he does have an 88 yard TD reception and a 65 yard punt return for TD. That’s not so pathetic.

TD receptions and punt returns are not "runs". Bush has not had any running play go for over 18 yards in 184 attempts.

32
by Sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:44pm

"Another part of it is that his team improved by eight wins as soon as he joined it, so the assumption, fed by all that hype, is that of course he had something to do with it."

That's not an assumption, it's fact. They beat TB last year 24-21 thanks to his 65 yard punt return with 4 minutes to play.

33
by Sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:48pm

#31: Thanks for the clarification. I always get runs, passes and returns mixed up.

Obviously, my point is he's capable of big plays and can hurt the opposition even if he's not running the ball well. To dwell solely on his running stats is to ignore much of his value.

34
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:54pm

32

Did you see the TD? I have to think any Joe Returner in the league takes that one back. He outran one guy and everyone else was on the ground or blocked.

35
by Sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:05pm

Had Joe Returner been the one to run it back, I'd be saying Joe Returner won that game.
Should we go back and deduct all the passes from Johnny Unitas that Joe Quarterback could have completed?

The remark I was responding to was arguing he didn't help the Saints with their turnaround last year. That seemed like a pretty obvious example where he had.

36
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:06pm

"Obviously, my point is he’s capable of big plays and can hurt the opposition even if he’s not running the ball well"

So is Kevin Faulk.

"Truth be told, the Texans may have made a mistake by drafting Williams, but it wasn’t because they didn’t take Bush."

I don't get why people are still ragging on the Texans. Williams looks to be a monster. Spending 1.1 on a moster DE is a good use of 1.1. Spending it on a scatback isnt.

37
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:10pm

35

I bet if we did, Johnny U would still have a lot of big plays. I don't know if we could say the same about Reggie.

38
by R.J. (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:34pm

The Saints' offensive line has played so badly this year I can't really blame Bush for the apparent regression. He was a rare talent at USC (behind a great line) -- give him a decent line in the NFL and he'll be very good.

39
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:48pm

"He was a rare talent at USC (behind a great line)"

So was Lendale White.

40
by PaulH (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:49pm

Sundown,

What people are saying is that you can't just look at what Reggie did by itself, you have to look at what other plays would have done. Yes he "won" the Saints the game against Tampa Bay with his punt return for a touchdown, but did he do anything particularly special? If he was about the only one who could have done that, then yes he did. On the other hand, if he did something that most other returners could have done, there's nothing special about that.

Yes he may have "won" the Saints that game, but the question is whether or not other players would have been able to do the same thing given the situation. You mention Johnny Unitas, and he was not special because he threw x number of TD passes, he was special because he was making a lot of plays that other quarterbacks could not make.

That's the whole underlying rationale to DVOA. It doesn't really matter what you do in a vacuum, it only matters what you do in respect to what usually happens in the same situation. A 10 yard run is nothing special when in the same situation the rest of the league averages a 20 yard return.

That's what people are saying here. There's nothing special about Reggie making a return for a touchdown that a lot of other guys in this league would have likely done as well. It would have only been special had he done something a lot of others wouldn't have done. After re-watching that play a few times, I can't bring myself to agree with that.

41
by PaulH (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:52pm

"A 10 yard run is nothing special when in the same situation the rest of the league averages a 20 yard return."

Obviously, a typo. It should be a 10 yard run and a 20 yard return.

And in case I wasn't precisely clear, at the end I was saying that after watching the replay of Reggie's return, I can't bring myself to say that he did something that a lot of other guys in this league could not have done.

42
by R.J. (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:01pm

#39
Lendale White looked like a good college running back behind that great line -- but Reggie Bush looked like an all-world, once in a generation talent. Granted, both Bush and White "looked" better than they were running behind those studs -- not unlike how Larry Johnson used to look behind that former great Chiefs o-line. Give Bush (or LJ) a decent offensive line and he will be better than mediocre.

43
by PaulH (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:08pm

Okay, ridiculous level of typos on my part...

It should be a 10 yard run and a 20 yard run. Or a 10 yard return and a 20 yard return, whichever example you want to use.

I really wish FO would allow users to edit their messages.

44
by PaulH (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:13pm

#42,

I don't necessarily disagree with what you are saying. Yes, Bush and White would both look running behind a great offensive line. But then again, most backs in the league would look good running behind a great offensive line. That's not really saying another special about them.

And I'm not sure that White / Bush aren't with decent offensive lines at the moment. The Titans are fourth in Adjusted Line Yards thus far (I know it's early, but still), and the Saints were twelfth in the league last year. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they are running behind five Mack trucks, but they have some pretty decent lines to work with as it is.

Moreover, beyond that, all of the college comparisons are pretty pointless. The gap between USC and the rest of the Pac-10 was massive in terms of their big uglies against the defensive front seven. Neither Bush or White will ever get anywhere near that much of an advantage in the NFL, there's just way too much parity.

45
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:15pm

"Lendale White looked like a good college running back behind that great line — but Reggie Bush looked like an all-world, once in a generation talent."

When they played slow defenses, yes. When they played quick ones, like Texas, White looked like a much better player than Bush.

NFL players are faster than college players, and Reggie can't just run around people anymore.

46
by R.J. (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:31pm

Just a couple points on Bush. I agree with much of what's been said but just because a player is overrated doesn't mean he isn't "good". The Saints offensive line last year was pretty good and during the second half of the year Bush "looked" better than mediocre. So far this year the line play has been terrible and Bush has "looked" like he's not much. I think the latter says more about the Saints offensive line than it does Bush's talent.
Also, only yammering heads on TV thought Bush would do in the NFL what he did at USC. But you're suggesting he won't even reach the level of B. Westbrook and I disagree. Give him a few years and a decent offensive line and he'll be as good, maybe better than Westbrook.

47
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 7:12pm

Yeah, I just want to clarify also - I don't think Reggie Bush is a worthless player. I think he's definately one of the Saints best 53 players and I think he's a nice toy a lot of offensive coordinators would like. I keep bringing up the Kevin Faulk analogy, and he's managed to have a career as a useful change of pace back, receiver, and kick returner. I think Reggie can do the same.

I just don't think he's anywhere near as good as some people think, and not nearly as good as the #2 overall pick would suggest he should be.

48
by NF (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 11:14pm

Another ACL tear?

49
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 3:08am

Ah well, the Saints will still have more wins than the Dolphins, two to one.

50
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 4:54pm

I don't think a factor in the hype about Bush was as much him having something to do with it as it was the implication that he had everything to do with it. It's just an extension of the "singlehandedly" cliché.

If we were to apply FO terminology to those thoughts, just as "Bush's DVOA as RB" is really "the Saints' DVOA when Reggie Bush carries the ball", "Bush singlehandedly beat the Bucs" is really "Bush made some big plays in a close win over the Bucs" and "Bush made the difference in New Orleans last season" is really "Bush was one of the bigger factors in the Saints' resurgence last year."

Except I don't get the feeling that that's what commentators mean when they speak so highly of Bush.

Re 15: as implied by others, I think that's the point. If Bush is like Barry Sanders, except that he can't break a big gain on a running play, then he's not like Barry Sanders.

51
by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 09/27/2007 - 10:49am

Speaking of the Saints, Joe Johnson is becoming the 35th inductee in the Saints HoF. I don't want to be mean to the fans on this site, but arguably the worst franchise in the NFL from a historical perspective has 35 players/coaches/execs in their HoF? I get guys like Archie Manning, Pat Swilling, Willie Roaf, maybe Ricky Jackson, Sam Mills, George Rogers, Bum Phillips. Maybe like everybody else they've crowned Reggis Bush's ass, but I'm having great difficulty naming more players in Saints history that performed at even a Pro-Bowl level. Bobby Hebert? Craig Heyward?

52
by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 09/27/2007 - 10:50am

1988: QB Archie Manning, WR Danny Abramowicz
1989: S Tommy Myers, K Tom Dempsey
1990: QB Billy Kilmer
1991: NT Derland Moore, RB Tony Galbreath
1992: RB George Rogers, G Jake Kupp, C John Hill
1993: LB Joe Federspiel
1994: GM Jim Finks, TE Henry Childs
1995: DE Bob Pollard, DE Doug Atkins
1996: CB Dave Whitsell, DB Dave Waymer
1997: LB Rickey Jackson, T Stan Brock
1998: RB Dalton Hilliard, LB Sam Mills
1999: QB Bobby Hebert, WR Eric Martin
2000: LB Vaughan Johnson, LB Pat Swilling
2001: TE Hoby Brenner, DE Jim Wilks
2002: Coach Jim Mora, DE Frank Warren
2003: DE Wayne Martin, G/T Jim Dombrowski
2004: RB Rueben Mayes, Assistant Coach Steve Sidwell
2005-06: C Joel Hilgenberg*