Three Offensive Moves the Bengals Must Make in Training Camp

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Jan 4, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Rex Burkhead (33) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts safeties

Mike Adams

(29) and

LaRon Landry

(30) in the 2014 AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The top two running back jobs are set.  Jeremy Hill may be poised to become one of the league’s top rushers while Giovani Bernard is the perfect change of pace back who may demand the team keeps him on the field as much as Hill due to his ability as a receiver.  But teams who feature a run-heavy offense need a quality third running back and Rex Burkhead is the most capable of filling this role amongst the Bengals’ reserves.

The only player who can challenge Burkhead is Cedric Peerman.  Peerman has been a key cog in the Bengals’ special teams unit for several years now.  He led the unit in tackles last year and has acted as the unit’s captain for several years now.  It’s hard to find players who are as capable on special teams as Cedric Peerman is.

The problem for Peerman is his offensive abilities.  Although Peerman has made some nice plays on offense, he simply doesn’t offer as much as Burkhead on offense.  At only 25 years old, Burkhead has the advantage of youth over Peerman; he also has little “wear on his tires” so to speak.  Burkhead had a very nice game against the Colts in the playoffs and is effective both in the run and pass game.

The big kicker here is Burkhead’s ability on special teams.  Burkhead is no slouch on this unit.  Despite being on the roster for only nine games, Burkhead still played on nearly 30% of the team’s special teams snaps.  Burkhead blocked a punt against the Jaguars in Week Eight.  A performance like this allows Burkhead to gain some ground on Peerman in the special teams game, which weakens Peerman’s challenge to Burkhead.

Although the Bengals have chosen to activate Peerman over Burkhead on game days in the past, 2015 is the right time to reserve the roles.  It will allow Burkhead to mature as a professional and sharpen his skills.  Most of all, the team could find out that they have a third running back worthy of offensive snaps.

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