Potential off-field distractions? Bengals RB Cedric Benson knows plenty about the subject. However, he's been focused on his job throughout the season, Bengals RBs coach Jim Anderson told PFW this week.
"He's handled it very well," Anderson said of Benson dealing with the various distractions that have arisen this season. The Bengals' longtime RB coach noted, "You can tell he loves football, because when he comes to practice, he works hard."
Benson served a brief prison sentence before the season after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor assault charge in connection with an incident at an Austin, Texas, bar last year. Also, he has appealed a potential three-game NFL suspension related to the league's personal-conduct policy. He has also reportedly filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against the NFL Players Association after the NFLPA, according to multiple media outlets, agreed to allow him and seven other players to be subject to league discipline because of off-field incidents that occurred during the lockout. All of the players, including Benson, had been involved in off-field incidents previously, according to reports.
Benson has been the Bengals' featured back for four seasons, averaging 20.3 carries in 44 games. Benson's backup, Bernard Scott, has flashed playmaking ability in three seasons, but carries have been scarce playing behind the starter. Moreover, third-string RB Brian Leonard gets a good deal of work on passing downs.
However, the Bengals want to get Scott more carries, Anderson said, telling PFW that the club needs to be "getting him more involved in what we do" on offense. Asked if offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, head coach Marvin Lewis and the coaching staff were on the same page regarding Scott becoming a bigger part of the offense, Anderson said, "I think that's an accurate statement. And that's why he's here."
In 32 career games, Scott has had received 10 or more carries only four times — and only once when Benson wasn't out of the game or out of the lineup completely because of injury. Through three games this season, Scott has eight carries for 23 yards.
Anderson said Scott not getting more work to this point isn't a matter of him having to earn it. "He's earned the right," Anderson said. However, game situations have prevented Scott from getting more work.
"It's like you want to, but it doesn't happen," Anderson said.
Should Benson miss any time, Scott surely would have an increased workload, with Leonard and fourth-string RB Cedric Peerman also being bumped up a spot on the depth chart.