July 23, 2014

Hold onto the damn ball Benson

Another question came in from a reader, this time from Clinton so I attempted to answer. Thanks for the questions and I promise, you ask and I will answer in a post.

Last season the Bengals turn the ball over entirely too many times. Have you seen any improvements from Cedric Benson to lower his amount of fumbles?

Short answer, No. Benson has not been on the field enough to see if he changed the way he carries the ball or protects it better.

I did however go back and look at Ced’s ball protection in the past. In the 5 seasons before last, Benson had a total of 7 fumbles. Then last season he had 7. A mathematician would tell you to throw out the lowest and the highest totals per season to help get the true average. I tend to agree.

Sure, Ced could come back and fumble 10 times this year, but I think that last season was more an annomaly then the path Ced is following. There are many reasons a running back can fumble the ball but I think the most common is when a back tries to do too much to extend a play. Staying on your feet when you are obviously wrapped up gives the other team the ability to strip the ball when all that is gained is an extra couple feet.

If I remember correctly, several years ago, Tiki Barber had a terrible season holding onto the football. He worked on it in the off-season and then changed the way he held the ball just slightly and the following season had one of the best years of his career. I am hoping that Ced makes the same adjustment. I believe he has the work ethic and desire to improve and will have addressed the issues causing him to drop the ball.

Comments

  1. Bill says:

    You are exactly right. I read recently — from Joe Reedy I think, can’t find it again, sorry — where Cedric himself said that his problems last year were caused by 1) not holding the ball high and tight, and 2) trying to do more than he should.

    Ordinarily I would hammer him for #2. But given how putridly ineffective the passing game was last year, I get it.

  2. Bill says:

    Here it is: http://cincinnati.com/blogs/bengals/2011/08/04/benson-back-to-practice/

    On his troubles last season when he lost five of seven fumbles: “It’s a simple thing. You’ve got to keep it tight to your body at all times. There really is no excuse for it. I’ve really just got to keep the ball tight and close to me at all times. I may have gotten a little lackadaisical with that last season trying to make things happen or trying to do things that I didn’t need to do. At times I was trying to make a play when all I needed to do was put my pads down and move forward.”