And in goal-line situations? Surprisingly, we’ve seen Bernard show a greater nose for the end zone in goal-to-go situations than Green-Ellis has displayed, despite his superior size.
With Andrew Whitworth on the mend, and Clint Boling still working out the nuances of his game, a back with the ability to find the cutback lane and explode through it would be very beneficial for any running attempts to the left side. Instead of plowing a hole open, Whitworth can instead wall off defenders enough to let Bernard squeak past.
Finally, Jay Gruden’s love of multiple formations and the ability to run the same play with multiple looks could find its soul mate in Bernard. This concept versatility, a West Coast staple, coupled with personnel who were versatile enough to play multiple positions (Bernard, Tyler Eiffert, and Mohammed Sanu, for instance), could kick the Bengals’ tempo up a notch.
For an offense that often struggled until their backs were against the wall, marching down the field in the two-minute offense, the ability to pull out the up-tempo urgency at any time with base personnel could be just the doldrum disruptor that the Bengals sorely lacked last year.
And, for a team that lacked red zone options outside of A.J. Green for the majority of last season, adding a versatile running back with a nose for the goal line, in addition to red zone catch-magnets Eiffert, Sanu and Green, and the Bengals will not likely be relying on Mike Zimmer’s defense to carry the scuffling offense.