Fantasy owners might not like it, but Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis may not plan on having a lead back this season. Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has hinted at a 50-50 split between veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis and rookie Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati.com reports.
Green-Ellis was the majority ball-carrier in 2012, running it 278 times for 1,094 yards and six touchdowns. It was his second career 1,000-yard season, but his 3.9 yards per carry left something to be desired. The Bengals selected Bernard in the second round of the draft this season out of North Carolina to work into the rotation as the back of the future.
After tearing his ACL in 2010, Bernard redshirted as a freshman but returned to have stellar sophomore and junior seasons. Bernard ran for 1,324 yards in 2011 on 5.2 yards per carry in 2011, and then 1,270 yards on 6.7 yards per carry last season for the Tar Heels. He also caught 92 passes in his college career and scored 31 total touchdowns.
He should help improve a rushing offense that finished 18th in the NFL in yards and 20th in yards per carry. It appears that he will have a pivotal role from the onset of the season.