How many times growing up did we hear, “you’re too small to play the game”? Throughout the history of the NFL, there have been many great players who had not eclipsed the 6’0″ mark. Some of these players, whether they were great, special teams experts, or just explosive, did not even pass the 5’10″ mark. I like to call them, “The Little Guys”.
The Bengals currently have many guys that are right at the 5’10″ mark on their roster, but there are five of them that make an enormous impact on the team. These next five players are the biggest help to the team for being 5’10″ or short.
1. Cedric Peerman, RB (5’10″);
Peerman may not be a starter, nor does he make the explosive plays down field that the NFL stars make; however, he did play an important role on special teams last season. The Bengals special teams last season was ranked number 1 in the NFL last season for the Opponent Average Starting Field Position after a Kickoff. He led the special teams in tackles last season and earned his role as the special teams captain. He has continued so far this season, and he also his an expert on punt coverage as well.
2. Mike Nugent, K (5’10″);
Grant it, most kickers in the NFL with the exception of Sebastian Janikoski, are relatively small, he still does fit the bill for an important player under that six-foot plateau. Last season Nugent led the AFC in Field Goals made (33), and placed 2nd in the NFL to David Akers (44). He was 6th in the AFC for Field Goal Percentage at (87%), and 10th in the NFL. Players that Nugent passed in Field Goal Percentage include; Mason Crosby (Green Bay), Adam Vinatieri (Indianapolis), David Akers (San Francisco), and Stephen Gostkoski (New England) all topping out at 85%. Some highly qualified company to be mentioned with.
3. Bernard Scott, RB (5’10);
Many people will question Bernard “Barnyard” Scott as a productive player. He may not be the flashy back-up that everyone wanted to see when we drafted him. And maybe so far in his career he has been plagued by some injuries. There is still a tool that this man has that sets him a part in the running game.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis is the kind of back that fights for yards and is not necessarily a shifty guy. Brian Leonard throughout his career has been a guy to run the ball on occasion (and I stress that word occasion), and Peerman has been a coverage guy (Special Teams). Although Peerman has speed, he is not shifty or elusive.
Scott may not be as powerful as Green-Ellis, as fast Peerman, but he has that elusive / shifty factor. In a running game that the Bengals use that is primarily an up-the-middle attack, Scott can run on the outside of the tackles. This forces interior linemen to use more energy, wearing them down as the game goes on. This in end result can open up for holes for Green-Ellis.
He may not get the yards or the flashy runs, but he is the dash, to Green-Ellis’ smash.