In our latest podcast, one of the topics we discussed with Bengals.com writer Geoff Hobson was the use of Bernard Scott. Or more specifically, the lack of it. Scott averaged 4.9 yards a carry and more than five yards a reception last season, but was held back with less than five touches per game (on average). Hobson guessed that injuries and perhaps difficulty with the offense (possibly pass protections or assignments) were to blame, but he also said he would like to see more of Scott next season as well.
The good news is that Jay Gruden is installing a West Coast offense that could feature a lot of short passes that are perfect for a player like Scott. And if he needs more examples of how to use a player like Scott, he should look to New Orleans. For the past few seasons, the Saints have had an extremely successful offense using a player very similar to Bernard Scott – Reggie Bush. Their other rushers (Pierre Thomas, and before that, Deuce McAllister) are bigger backs in the mold of Cedric Benson.
Thus, the Saints with their offensive success provide a perfect model for the Bengals. Head coach Sean Payton has been creative, finding ways to get both backs on the field at the same time. He’s used Reggie Bush as a slot receiver and found other ways to get him the ball in space. And then when he needed to, he used his bigger backs as a hammer to close out games.
Those methods would work in Cincinnati too. If the Bengals hope to be better in 2011, they need to use Scott more.
They should try to be the Saints.