Cincinnati Bengals: 5 Players to Watch In 2016

matthewwillson
Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals fans cheer against the Pittsburgh Steelers during a AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals fans cheer against the Pittsburgh Steelers during a AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) against the Pittsburgh Steelers during a AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) against the Pittsburgh Steelers during a AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Giovani Bernard

Giovani Bernard is entering the final year of his rookie deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. However, the Bengals have just announced his three year extension to keep him in Cincinnati through the 2019 season. Bernard will be able to breath and play without the weight of his future weighing on him.

Bernard was easily the go to guy at the end of the Wildcard game against the Steelers. However, a dangerous blow, as the NFL defines it now, by Ryan Shaizer, not only ended the Bengals drive, but Gio’s playoffs, as he entered concussion protocol. Until the Wildcard game, Bernard had zero fumbles lost. His hands would have been well welcomed on the Bengals final series.

Bernard finished the 2016 regular season with 730 rushing yards on 154 carries, 472 receiving yards on 49 catches, and two touchdowns. He plays a vital role in both the run and pass game, keeping defenses honest and accountable. It is something Hue Jackson utilized numerous times and something Ken Zampese would be expected to continue.

Bernard is playing now to justify his extension, but he has definitely earned it with his first three years in Cincinnati. The duo of Gio and Jeremy Hill play a vital part of this offense and are a key to the Bengals success in the regular season and then playoff’s, assuming they make their sixth straight appearance.

Bernard is more than a late game rusher, when playing more of a time management, he is dual threat in every aspect of the Bengals game, who can hold onto the ball.

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