When the Bengals opted to let free agent Cedric Benson go, the team was left searching for a new starting running-back to carry the load in the physical AFC North.
Enter BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
The team was able to sign Ellis away from the Patriots on a 3-year, $3 million deal after he’d been their main RB for the past two seasons. They got a reliable back who has never fumbled the ball, all while scoring a ridiculous 24 TDs over the past two seasons as the Patriots primary RB.
Ellis is a much better option in the redzone near the goaline than any RB the Bengals have had since Rudi Johnson departed, and its something Benson struggled at mightily last season. The guys at The Fake Football did a nice breakdown of the effectiveness of RBs at the goal line and their carries over the last three years inside the five yard line, as well as the number of TDs they scored. As you can imagine, Ellis was one of the top performers in that category:
The Law Firm has had a good deal of success around the goal line in his career, getting into the end zone 50% of the time he runs inside the five. I’ve ripped him a few new ones whenever I’ve had the chance, but he does know how to sneak over the line. Can he do this in Cincinnati instead of New England? Good question. I don’t think he will be as successful, but if the Bengals offense can get him down near the goal, he could have some production.
For comparisons sake, Benson had 39 attempts in that same time frame, but only converted 31% of those opportunities into TDs.