The Jackson Factor – Part I: King of the Hill

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Perhaps this is still too linear of an evaluation.  To again compare Hill to Hyde, the Ohio State offensive line coupled with their spread offense schemes allowed Hyde breakaway runs a shocking 57% of the time!  Hill did not receive nearly the support from LSU formations and schemes and yet still posted very similar overall rushing numbers.  Moreover, Hill excelled in pass protection at LSU, being actively coached to do so in a pro-style offense; Hyde did not.  Notably, pass protection is something that Bernard and occasionally Green-Ellis struggle to manage.

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

Coach Jackson has repeatedly called for a return to the ground game, and further suggested the use of a full back in next year’s offense.  While Orson “the project” Charles remains listed as a half back on the current Bengals roster, the reality remains that this could very well be the function that Hill was brought in to execute.  With his skill set, Hill could seal gaps for Green-Ellis, lead block for Bernard, protect Dalton against the blitz, and in odd plays, take the occasional hand-off as the lead man.  His size makes him an ideal bruiser, especially at the second level against like-sized linebackers, something that should be feasible if fourth round center Russell Bodine is as effective as he was brought in to be against the AFC North’s nose tackles.  With Charles being a non-entity last season, Coach Jackson probably has several unique HB plays drawn up that never saw the field.

At the end of the day, discussions of whether Hill will replace BJGE are off-topic; Hill was drafted as a complement, not a competition.