Bengals’ Running Game Is Ready to Lead Offense

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Nov 23, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill (32) runs with the ball in the fourth quarter as tackle Andrew Whitworth blocks against Houston Texans linebacker

Mike Mohamed

(54) at NRG Stadium. The Bengals beat the Texans 22-19. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals feature one of the NFL’s elite offensive lines.  It’s unsurprising as the team has invested heavily in the line.  Star offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth was the team’s second round selection in 2006; he may have had the best season of his career in 2014.  The team used first round selections on right tackle Andre Smith and right guard Kevin Zeitler in 2009 and 2012 respectively.  And in 2011 and 2014, the Bengals used fourth round selections on left guard Clint Boling and center Russell Bodine to complete their starting unit.

During this year’s draft, the Bengals used their first two selections to ensure the line remains dominant going forward by selecting once-speculated top five selection tackle Cedric Ogbuehi and tackle Jake Fisher.  Ogbuehi will take some time to get on the field due to his ongoing recovery from a torn ACL; it may even take him until next year.  Yet, the addition of Fisher may help in the near future.  Many have suggested that he will function as the team’s “big tight end” when lining up in a big formation.  His mix of athleticism and power should work well in such a role.

The Bengals’ offensive line may have to adjust how they block for running back Giovani Bernard, as he’s struggled to produce a viable yards/carry number in his first two seasons, but they’ve done a great job catalyzing Jeremy Hill‘s rushing attack.  When functioning in a starting role, Hill became one of the league’s most prolific rushers during his rookie season.  If this continues in the coming season, Hill could establish himself as one of the league’s best.

Next: The Tight Ends