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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
The term "reps," or repetitions, is a part of NFL lingo, and it refers to snaps a player gets in practice.
But aside from playing, actively watching and learning is key. Look no further than the case of Bengals RB Bernard Scott.
Scott played well when called upon last season, rushing for 321 yards on 74 carries (4.3 ypc) and returning 16 kickoffs for 504 yards (31.5 ypr) and one TD. He started a pair of games and got 13 carries or more in three November games when RB Cedric Benson missed time with a hip flexor injury.
"For the most part, I took the opportunities in front of me when my number was called," Scott said.
He was ready, in part, because of what he learned from his teammates. One example: While the 5-10, 200-pound Scott is quick and has good long speed, one of the challenges he faced in his rookie season was allowing running plays to develop. He credits Benson for showing him the value of "being patient and pressing the ball to the line of scrimmage."
Said Scott: "Earlier in the year, I really wasn't patient, and I wasn't trusting my line." However, as the season went on, "I was able to feed off their blocks," he said.
Another example: "mental reps," as he put it, helped him learn how to become a better pass blocker.
"That's what helped me a lot," he said. "You've got to watch veterans and other guys and learn from their mistakes."
As a rookie, Scott also had the task of learning how to return kicks after not doing so in college. Special-teams coach Darrin Simmons worked with Scott to help him learn how to diagnose the play in front of him.
"It's knowing who you've got to read and who's blocking who," Scott said of returning kickoffs. He added, "Once that came, everything else came natural."
Scott's 96-yard kickoff return score at Pittsburgh was the Bengals' lone touchdown in a pivotal 18-12 victory. He'll likely have a chance to return kickoffs again this season.
Scott, who caught five passes for 67 yards as a rookie, has worked on running more precise routes in the offseason. "Me and a linebacker in open space, I feel like I should win that most of the time," he said.
Though Scott has missed time recently with a sprained left ankle, the injury isn't serious, he said, and he is running again, he said. Scott expects to be ready for training camp, where he looks to be the favorite to be the Bengals' top backup to Benson for a second season in a row.
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