Bengals Roundtable: Surprise Training Camp players

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It’s finally back: The Stripe Hype Roundtable has made its long-awaited return, and for our first segment, we’ll be looking at the players who have surprised us the most in training camp and through two preseason games.


Aug 8, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) runs the ball in the first half against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Shawn Maher

The running back position has seen an about-face this preseason, shifting from an area of weakness to strength. Of course, Giovanni Bernard has been both electric in the open field and tough at the goal-line, punching in a pair of goal-line TDs more adeptly than we’ve seen bruising BenJarvus Green-Ellis over the course of his Cincinnati career. And Rex Burkhead has also looked the part to assume Brian Leonard‘s former third-down role.

But, overall, the most surprising back has been what we thought was a known commodity: Dan Herron. During the preseason last year, Boom looked tentative, sluggish and unaware of his surroundings. He didn’t appear to have any explosion in the least, but was also unable to pick up the tough yards. This time around, however, Herron looks like a completely different runner. Most obvious is his explosive abilities, most evident in his field-reversing gain to transform a broken play into a large gain.

While Burkhead does provide many intangibles that would be great in the Bengals’ locker room, Herron’s special-teams contributions from last season may vault him into a spot on the 53-man roster. A newfound glut of talented backs does speak to the apparent large strides forward in talent and cohesiveness that Jay Gruden’s offense boasts this season.

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