Even though Cincinnati decisively unhorsed the reigning Super Bowl Champion New York Giants last Sunday, it’s a bit premature to say the Bengals are firing on all cylinders. Sure, players like Terrance Newman have had an excellent pair of games, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the secondary is fixed. Rather, in many respects the Bengals are simply (and finally) making very good use of the veterans and respective skill-sets they have.
Unfortunately, this isn’t quiet the case in the running game yet. Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden took a massive amount of heat after as the team slide on its 0-4 losing streak for being unable to craft the run. Last week it showed sparks of life as a renewed and concerted effort to establish a running game was attempted, but 28 carries by committee for only 76 yards, resulted in a mere 2.7 yards per carry, with the longest being a paltry 7 yarder. Nonetheless, the variety of run styles as well as play selection gave the Bengals 5 rushing first downs that played into the Bengals going 6-13 on third-down conversions for the day. More importantly the run helped relieve pressure on Andy Dalton who had a career high 4-TDs to four different targets with zero interceptions.
While effective for a game, BenJarvus Green-Ellis will remain unlikely give opposing defensives cause to pause during preparations for any upcoming match-ups. The running back position remains the highest draft priority for the Bengals going into the 2013 NFL Draft. However, with top prospect Marcus Lattimore (RB, South Carolina) sustaining what could be a career-ending knee injury, the 2013 crop of rookie running backs became worth examining a bit deeper.