It’s hard to believe Giovani Bernard, despite his talent and potential to become an every-down running back in the very near future, will get most of the carries next season for the Cincinnati Bengals, but it’s definitley not going to be only about Benjarvus Green-Ellis.
Green-Ellis was the only running back on the team with over 260 yards last season, going for 1094, scoring six touchdowns, but averaging only 3.9 yards per carry. He isn’t a great blocker or pass-catcher, but he had a strong finish to the season, averaging 92.8 yards in the last six games, and he ranked seventh in the NFL in fourth-quarter rushing yards last season.
There is little doubt that Bernard, who led the ACC in rushing yards last season, will eventually become the starting running back for the Bengals. Rex Burkehead, a sixth round pick out of Nebraska, was mentioned once or twice as someone who’ll get more than the usual low pick does, but there’s isn’t much to hope to see from him next season. Bernard?
According to RBs coach Hue Jackson, the Bengals are extremely excited about Bernard’s ability to be a legitimate threat as a receiving option out of the backfield, averaging 46 receptions a season during his two years with North Carolina, including five catching touchdowns last season.
The general idea seems to be using Bernard in a multitude of ways and roles early on in games, helping keeping Benjarvus Green-Ellis relatively fresh heading into the fourth quarter. If Bernard does perform like he’s been doing so far in the preseason and the way, in general, the Bengals expect of him, his time as a secondary running back in Cincinnati won’t last long, and he’ll take Green=Ellis’ place soon enough.