Because like Charles, Peko is not a full back; he’s a defensive tackle. Accepting there is only so much time within the practice sessions of a short week, Peko either has to spend time with the defensive line preparing for Aaron Rogers or away from the defensive line developing more offensive applications. There is no makeup time, and certainty a starting defensive linemen should be focused on his defensive linemen duties. In the end, the Packers’ educated guess that the play would be the same was a sound one. If wrong, the risk would only have been a first down, a reasonable gamble in a third and short situation regardless. But if correct… well, that was sufficiently demonstrated.
July 28, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running backs coach Hue Jackson (middle) talks with tight end Orson Charles (80) and running back Rex Burkhead (33) during training camp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
What is the most striking is that for two consecutive weeks, the Bengals have found themselves in critical third and short situations without confidence in the designed runs developed in offseason and practiced during the preseason. This is a direct reflection of the offensive coaching staff’s confidence in the genesis of Orson Charles. If he can’t be counted on towards the direct production of one yard when called upon, then there is a still critical deficiency within Cincinnati’s offensive structure. Contextually, Charles is yet to be targeted and subsequently register a reception after the first three games, further questioning the merits of this ‘halfback experiment’.
Despite it being relatively early in the season, injuries have already taken their toll on the 53-man roster. The loss of Robert Geathers was interesting insofar as it summoned cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris from the practice squad, highlighting that the Bengals projected strategic depth in some positions, developed player diversity to augment a relative lack of depth in others, and finally accepted risk in yet another. The deletion of fullback John Conner during final roster cuts was clearly a byproduct hedged bets and hopeful application.