In the midst of all the discussion about where Offensive Coordinator Jau Gruden will end up next season, Gruden is still responsible for analyzing and improving his own team, and it sounds like he doesn’t like what Cedric Benson is giving him. That’s just my take, but read these comments from Jay Gruden in a Bengals.com article and tell me what you think:
“From a consistency standpoint, you’d like to get Bernard more carries, more touches and Cedric has earned the right to be a feature back in this offense the last couple of years… So there’s a fine line there. Know what I mean? The more you give it to Bernard, the more you’ve got Cedric over there scratching his head and not real happy. Really, to me, on a good football team nobody should worry about who’s scoring or who’s getting the ball. So long as the team is moving.
You look at the great offenses right now and it’s somebody different all the time… It could be (Rob) Gronkowski, it could be (Wes) Welker, it could be (Benjarvus) Green-Ellis one game. It could be Jordy Nelson, (Donald) Driver, it could be (Greg) Jennings, it could be the back. That’s the way it’s got to be. In New Orleans it’s the same way. It could be (Marques) Colston, it could be the big tight end, it could be (Darren) Sproles. So everybody is a viable option on every play.
We’ve just got to make sure if Cedric is out there, it’s just not Cedric’s deal. You’ve got to be able to do some other things. You’ve got to be able to come out of the backfield, pass protect better and still do our play-action and drop back and throw. We’ve got to be more versatile in that regard, but overall we do have to get better in the running game.”
Last year there was a bit of mystery if Ced would return to the Bengals for one more year, and eventually the two sides agreed on a one year deal, a $3 million dollar salary with an additional $2 million in incentives.
This year, Cedric simply seemed like he didn’t fit on the team. Both personality-wise and skill-wise, Cedric didn’t exactly seem pleased to be on the team. Whether it was comments about his dislike for splitting carries with Scott, or dropping passes thrown to him Ced just seemed like a circle in a square offense.
Jay Gruden’s west coast offense relies on the runningback to help in both receiving and pass-blocking, both of which Benson is below average at. That leaves only his skills as a runner left, and Cedric is a very, very average runningback.
That being said, I’m hoping that the Bengals go with Alabama’s Trent Richardson, Miami’s Lamar Miller, or Washington’s Chris Polk in the first two rounds of the 2012 draft. All these guys are better runners and more well-rounded runningbacks.