Some problems are good to have, like it is for the Cincinnati Bengals and their running back duo of Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill, and trying to find the right kind of balance between using the two of them.
Last season Hill, a rookie out of LSU, emerged as the main running threat for the team, taking advantage of Bernard’s midseason injury that changed the hierarchy of the position. Bernard was a pleasant dual threat surprise in 2013, his rookie season, with over 1200 yards from scrimmage. He began 2014 as the #1 running back, but turns out his injury helped the Bengals realize just how good Hill is.
The former Bayou Bengal rushed for 1124 and 9 touchdowns, including five games of 100 yards or more in the second half of the season. Bernard became more of the passing target back, and despite playing just 13 games, still finished with 1029 yards from scrimmage, third best on the team behind A.J. Green and Hill, who wasn’t used very much in the passing game.
And this season? Maybe a lot of it depends on how Andy Dalton is doing. Fresh off another playoff disappointment, maybe the Bengals will increase even more the load on their rushes and make their offense a run-first kind, moving to close to 60% rushing plays, despite the talent they have at the wide receiver position.
In any case, Hill doesn’t expects to be run into the ground this season. There’s plenty of talent to go around between him and Bernard, which makes it easy for Hue Jackson to shuffle between them so no injuries happen and both of them are healthy enough for a playoff push, if the Bengals make it there again.
Obviously there’s going to be a balanced attack. I don’t think he’s got to wear either one of us out, so that way we can make it through all 16 games for a playoff push.