Can Bengals' running game show more playmaking punch?

Posted June 22, 2012 @ 2:59 p.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

The Bengals had 51 pass plays of 20-plus yards a season ago. Eighteen were passes from QB Andy Dalton to WR A.J. Green, and the Dalton-Green connection figures to stress defenses more than any other aspect of the Bengals’ offense in 2012. Green, who had 11 catches of 35 yards or more a season ago, can take the top off of a defense, and his presence would reduce any sting should the Bengals not find a reliable complement to him at the other outside WR spot. However, the running game's ability to hurt defenses is something of a concern. The Bengals have finished no better than 24th in yards per carry in any season since 2006 and are last in the NFL in rushing average (3.78 ypc) in that span. Former Patriots RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who’s expected to replace Cedric Benson as the starter, didn’t have a rush of longer than 18 yards in 2011. What’s more, Bernard Scott, who’s expected to get more work this season, had only one rush of more than 20 yards in 112 carries in 2011, though he does have good quickness.