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Bengals’ Rex Burkhead: Ready For The Next Step

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Cincinnati Bengals running back Rex Burkhead is ready for a bigger role! Since he arrived in the NFL in 2013, he has mostly been a game time inactive due to the running backs ahead of him: Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard and Cedric Peerman. Burkhead has not seen much time, other than the occasional special teams appearance.

In last season’s playoff game against the Colts, Rex Burkhead saw his shot and took it. Although the game ended with a Cincinnati loss, Rex Burkhead displayed amazing versatility that will keep him in Cincinnati for a long time. He played wide receiver during the playoff game because of all the injuries the offense sustained. He finished the game with three receptions for 34 yards with a long of 26 while he rushed for 23 yards on one carry.

On many other teams Rex Burkhead would be heavily involved in a one-two punch rotation. On some teams, Burkhead could even start. Only in Cincinnati would he have to show more than his running back ability to even get a chance on the field.

As a Bengals fan, it is sometimes hard to watch all the decisions made by the organization. The Bengals front office believes in loyalty and they believe in experience over youth, veterans over rookies. Both of these reasons are why Burkhead has seen very little playing time. Fellow Bengals running back Cedric Peerman epitomizes these beliefs.

Since coming into the league in 2013, Rex Burkhead has been fighting with Peerman for the third spot. It’s because of the “experience over rookie” mentality that Burkhead has yet to find success in the NFL. Peerman led the NFL in special team tackles last year, so picking Burkhead, who is relatively unproven, over special team ace Peerman is a bit far fetched.

The other part of the equation is loyalty. Cedric Peerman was a free agent this year and for a while it looked like he was not coming back to the Queen City. Peerman visited with Philadelphia and soon after, Cincinnati offered up a two-year deal.

Rex Burkhead has gotten the “short end of the stick” for the past couple of years, but Peerman may be switching spots this upcoming season. Last season, the running back depth chart was “Nuke and Juke” as 1A and 1B, Peerman as three and Burkhead as an oft-inactive four. This year “Nuke and Juke” stay put, yet Burkhead plays the third role to relieve either back as well as play slot wide receiver in some packages, and Peerman stays on special teams as an active four.

“He’s (Rex) very talented,” Jackson said, via Cincinnati.com. “You have a talented player on your team you see if you can find a way to get him involved. He can do a little bit of everything. He can run the ball, too. He can catch, protect. He’s one of the better players on our team so we will see what we can do with him.”

Having Rex Burkhead on the field regardless of the role would be a great benefit to the team, therefore, finding places to put him should be a priority. In Week 9, the Bengals took on the Jaguars and Rex Burkhead played a big part in sealing the victory by blocking a punt. Although Peerman may have the upper hand on special teams, Burkhead is no slouch either.

Rex Burkhead makes big plays no matter where he is and Peerman is purely a special team ace. In order to keep both of them active on game days, another player from a different position must be a game time inactive. This year Cincinnati may keep three quarterbacks depending on A.J. McCarron‘s performance. If so, one of these quarterbacks will be a game time inactive.

Now I admit I may be more of a fan of Rex Burkhead than most, but after coming out of Nebraska with 3,836 yards from scrimmage and 35 touchdowns, Burkhead is a proven playmaker. He is primed for a big year in 2015!

Next: Bengals' Three-Back Set Could Be Vital in 2015

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