With the regular season opener just over a week away, the Cincinnati Bengals got both good and bad news about their running back room.
The preseason is over. We are tantalizingly close to having more than names on a sheet of paper and a few plays in the preseason to discuss and predict the fortunes of NFL teams. For now though, that is still all we have.
Knowing that, it should come as no surprise that the Bengals are anywhere from a touchdown to a 9.5 point underdog, depending on the betting site for next Sunday’s game in Seattle.
Zac Taylor’s team will be underdogs a lot this year. If they are going to be competitive, they are going to need to run the ball well and often to keep opposing offenses on the sidelines. Another way to look at it is keeping last year’s last ranked defense on the sidelines.
New defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo brings a new scheme, but many of last year’s defenders have returned. Thus, it is foolish to expect anything more than a marginal improvement.
This is why it was wise of Bengals brass to draft two accomplished college running backs in Rodney Anderson and Trayveon Williams. Last year’s AFC leading rusher Joe Mixon was always going to be the centerpiece of the offense, but Anderson and Williams were going to assist veteran scat back Giovani Bernard in keeping Mixon fresh.
Anderson had an impressive preseason debut last week against the Giants. That is why the news that he tore his ACL against the Colts is a tough blow for he and the team. It will be the second straight season of lost football for the 2019 sixth round pick.
However, the news is not all bad. Williams, who had been dealing with a foot injury all preseason, is likely to be ready for Seattle. It is frustrating to lose a possible weapon like Anderson. Still, the running backs are Cincinnati’s best shot at winning games this year, even if the room is now a little short handed.