Cincinnati Bengals: Running Back By Committee Approach Smart

By Joshua Casey

For the Cincinnati Bengals one of the big story-lines of the off-season was their decision to move on from long tenured running back Cedric Benson. Benson, who was replaced by former New England Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, finished up his career with the Bengals with totals of 4,176 yards rushing (5th all-time amongst Bengals running backs), and 21 touchdowns. So while the move was not totally unexpected for the Bengals, it did leave them in a tough situation as to who they would get to replace him, and how reliable would he be?

The Bengals, as I mentioned above, decided to go out and sign BenJarvus Green-Ellis, giving them a solid option at the running back position. But offensive coordinator Jay Gruden does not feel that only relying on Green-Ellis, throughout a grueling 16 game regular season, is enough. Thus the reason why the Bengals will implement a “running back by committee” approach for the upcoming 2012-2013 NFL season.

While Green-Ellis will still get the bulk of the carries for the Bengals, he will rotate with fellow Bengals running backs Bernard Scott, and Brian Leonard. Also, for all the fantasy owners out there, Green-Ellis, according toGruden, will also get the bulk of the Bengals goalline carries, thus making him a good late draft steal due to his high number of scoring chances. This approach by the Bengals is a smart one as it relieves the pressure off Green-Ellis, and allows him to stay as healthy as a he can to gear up for a potential playoff run.

The days of the one durable, sturdy running back in the NFL, f.e Emmitt Smith, are gone. With the way that the game has evolved it has become quite normal for teams to implement a two to three running back rotation for the sole purpose of keeping your guys as healthy as can be. Certainly this idea will be new for the Bengals running backs, and might take a few pre-season, and even one regular season, games to work out. But in the end it will be all for the best as it will decrease the risk of major injury to a key player, one who may be needed for the last two weeks of the season when the Bengals take on two of their division rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, andBaltimore Ravens.


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