It goes without saying that the continued development of Andy Dalton has been one of the happiest developments for the Bengals in this young season. It also goes without saying that the disappointing defense has been one of the more frustrating developments.
This bipolar state of affairs has caused the struggles of the Cincinnati run game to fly a bit under the radar. After a strong opening night against Baltimore, Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis has averaged less than three yards per carry the last two games, and of course against Washington put the ball on the ground for the first time in 589 career touches.
Green-Ellis is certainly no game-breaker, but that’s ok; the Bengals knew that going into the season. What they did not know was that they would lose guard Travelle Warton and center Kyle Cook to IR before the season even began. Holes have been scarce for Green-Ellis, and he is not necessarily the type of back that can create something out of nothing.
And just in time, here come the Jaguars! Sunday’s game against Jacksonville is a golden opportunity for the Cincinnati offense to put together its first complete offensive game of the year. The Jaguars rank 30th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game, and have given up at least 123 yards rushing in each of its first three games.
I would love to see Jay Gruden try and establish the run early against Jacksonville, particularly with Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith out with a groin injury.