Letting go and moving forward. Every season leaves die, fall and are replaced. So true is the way of the NFL offseason. Players retire, are released, resigned and acquired. With the Cincinnati Bengals boasting mostly new faces over the last few years, especially among integral positions such as quarterback, receiver and running back, Bengals fans have perhaps felt these changes in their fanatical souls quite often.
How can this process be defined accurately when breaking down the Bengals 2012 offseason thus far? The departure of the Bengals leading rusher for the past 4 seasons, running back Cedric Benson is possibly the most obvious selection. Many believe that signing BenJarvus Green-Ellis to replace Benson was a step in the right direction for fixing the teams inability to break long runs and eat up chunks of clock.
While the previous statement is probably true, there is a more discrete angle to approach this situation which the Bengals have thoroughly addressed.
The Bengals are going in to the 2012 season minus both starting offensive guards from 2011. While at first this may seem alarming, it is a prime example of the phrase ”out with the old and in with the new.”
Nate Livings and Bobbie Williams were public enemy No. 1 as far as the running game is concerned. While their services are appreciated among Bengals fans, many fail to see how much blame falls on their collective shoulders for Cedric Benson struggling to get off the line. The OG duo failed to get an initial push to give Benson or any running back room to get into space. Their feet froze and they were pushed around at the point of a attack by most defensive lines they faced.
With Travelle Wharton and rookie Kevin Zeitler replacing them the Bengals will be able to push the pile, open up bigger holes in the gaps and even run pulls to the outside. How many times did you see Cedric Benson take off to the sidelines with a pulling guard leading the way? Rarely.
In addition to BJG filling the vacant starting RB spot the Bengals have announced they will be using a running back by committee approach. This should bode well for the Cincinnati offense.