By Ashley Dunkak

CBS DETROIT – Through seven games, the Detroit Lions rank 31st in the NFL with an average of 82.4 rushing yards per game, fewer than any other team except the winless Oakland Raiders.

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Running back Reggie Bush said Wednesday that a number of factors have steered the team’s run game off course this year.

“Early in the season we faced some pretty tough run defenses with the Jets, Buffalo, we faced some tough defensive fronts, some really good front sevens,” Bush said. “Obviously it was a little bit tougher to run against some of those teams, and it felt like for a period we were facing the number one run defense every week. I think that was part of it, and also for us, it’s getting into a rhythm, into a flow with this new offensive system. We’re still kind of learning it.

“I’m not at all worried,” Bush added. “I wouldn’t want to run behind any other offensive line. Just going back and seeing what we did last year, we have the guys here. We have what it takes to get it done, and it’s just a matter of getting into a rhythm. We’ve had some injuries, too, and that’s obviously hurt us a little bit. We’re getting there. Nobody is worried. It’s not a time to panic, but it is a time for a sense of urgency.”

Injuries have caused Bush to miss one game, Joique Bell to miss one game and Theo Riddick to miss two games. Bell carried the load Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said part of the reason was that Bush’s ankle injury was still bothering him.

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“It’s just life as a running back,” Bush said. “I haven’t been 100 percent in I don’t know how long, but you learn to play through injuries and play with hurting and all those different things. It is a little tough, but this game is going to keep moving with or without us. We have to find a way to play through that injury. That’s what the week of is for, getting yourself as healthy as possible with the ice tubs, the cold tubs and all those different things that help you get as healthy as possible.”

Through seven weeks, Detroit’s run game has accounted for only 25 percent of the team’s total yards per game. Bush seemed optimistic that the situation will turn around sooner rather than later.

“We’re close,” Bush said. “We’ve had some issues with assignments and some of our blocking schemes that we’re trying to correct, but, yeah, I think we are one or two plays away. Sometimes that can be the difference in breaking a big one or having a big game. It’s just those one or two blocks away, or the running back’s steps being right, seeing the defensive scheme that they’re running. So it’s a little bit of everything

“We’re still trying to find our rhythm, I think, in this run game and this new offensive system, but it is coming,” Bush continued. “It’s just not coming along as fast as we’d like, but it does have to improve quicker because these games are only going to get tougher for us.”

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