Posted: 2:52 p.m. Thursday, July 25, 2013
By Josh Kirkendall
In 2011, the recently hired Jay Gruden wanted to implement a rotation at running back. Paired with Cedric Benson was Bernard Scott. The end result had Benson as the feature back during the opening two possessions and Scott playing the third. Ultimately it was Benson's 273 carries that led Cincinnati's rushing offense.
Part II of this plan explored duel citizenship between the recently signed BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Scott. Instead, Scott suffered several injuries and Green-Ellis ran the football 278 times; a career-high and the most since Benson's 321 carries in 2010.
After Cincinnati selected Giovani Bernard out of North Carolina in the second round, Gruden's eyes turned several shades of misty and joy. Gruden "hinted" to Joe Reedy with the Cincinnati Enquirer, there will be balanced distribution between Green-Ellis and Bernard.
In terms of the running game, Gruden hinted that it could end up being a 50-50 split. BenJarvus Green-Ellis had nearly three quarters of the carries last season, but the plan when they signed him last year was to use more of a backfield by committee.
Despite putting together a career-year with a handful of surprisingly long gains, Green-Ellis is ideally suited for short-yardage situations and within the final five yards inside the red zone. Giovani Bernard adds more of a James Brook dynamic, if we're using that comparison and labeling Green-Ellis as a dance-less Ickey Woods.
Several unanswered questions remain at running back, such as Cedric Peerman's injury impacting the team's depth chart. Rex Burkhead and Daniel Herron cracking their knuckles in the epic battle of former six-round running backs claiming the fourth and likely final running back spot. What's not in question is Green-Ellis and Bernard. Save for the unfortunate variables that leads to disaster that we'd rather ignore (injury), that will be your one-two punch this year.