December 20, 2014

Is it B-Scott’s Turn?

Is it Bernard's time to shine?

Okay, so I’m going to go ahead and say what’s probably on the minds of many Bengal fans after Sunday’s game (and perhaps even some before then).

Is it time for Bernard Scott to take over as the starting tailback for this football team?

After his performance against Seattle, and having watched 6 games worth of Cedric Benson, I’m inclined to say, “yes.”  Anecdotally, it seems to me that Scott is faster to the edge, quicker to squirt through a crack in the line, and less apt to give up on a play at the first grabbing defender.

Some may say that Cedric is the hammer, while Bernard is just the “scat back.”  That’s their roles–thunder sets up lightning.  They’ll  say that Benson is our between the tackles runner, and Scott is  the change of pace guy; too small for that kind of interior, tough running needed in the smashmouth AFC North.

I disagree. My eyes have seen that Benson isn’t actually very good at betwen-the-tackles running, and in fact tries to bounce it outside a lot.  Without much success.  Scott is more adept at scooting through small cracks in the interior; into holes Benson wouldn’t even try. And when talking about running to the edge, it’s not even close.  Scott is much faster to the corner than Benson, and has been able to turn it a lot more than Ced ever could. Plus, I think B. Scott gives the team more of a threat as a receiver.  Jay Gruden has proven to have a wide array of screen passes in his playbook, something Bob Bratkowski wasn’t able to do. Scott seems like a better option on screens than Benson.

Some will point to Benson’s 3.9 yards per carry average, as opposed to Scott’s comparatively poor 3.1. I’d argue, however, that it’s difficult to use that measuring stick considering that Benson has 65 more carries than Scott, and thus 65 more opportunities to break longer runs to boost his average.  

One last point:  Some will say Benson is bigger and therefore better as the bell cow back.  Fine, there may be some truth to that.  I’d point out though, just for the record, that Tennessee’s Chris Johnson, generally considered one of the best backs in the league, is roughly the same size as Scott.

Look, I’m not necessarily advocating that Scott replace Benson as the team’s full-time #1 back.  Lord knows that I appreciate Benson’s toughness and his sometimes angry running style–something Scott doesn’t show. But I am suggesting that his role warrants an increase.  Perhaps the Bengal attack would be a bit more explosive with Scott making defenses run around for the majority of the game, with Benson and his pissed-off-ness coming in to run them over late in the game and in short yardage situations.

Thoughts?

Comments

  1. Seubs says:

    I totally disagree with your assessment. I am not a believer in Scott. I think he hesitates too much and he too can not run it between the tackles. He often bounces it outside when there are huge cutback lanes on the inside that he misses. I’d rather have Cedric Benson back there personally because I know he can hold up to the physical play of the AFC North. Scott hasn’t shown that he can play a full 16 games.

    • dynomikie says:

      I agree with this article. B. Scott has not proven he isn’t capable of playing as a full time back. He has been suspended far less than Benson… That has to play into this. Benson is one annual assault away from being suspended for a season. As far as on the field, Scott is more versatile, and adding a good pass catcher out of the backfield is huge. He looks to make his decisions faster and more deliberate than Benson. I think they should share carries from here on out.

  2. Number 1 Fan says:

    This is an interesting article, i bet there is a good split here.

    I for one don’t buy into Scott. Sure he seems shifty, but he has never carried the load for the running game and I don’t believe he can be a feature back. With the Bengals picks in the draft, a tough running back has to be on the list.

  3. Bill says:

    Scott clearly demonstrated on Sunday that he deserves more opportunities to run with the ball (no matter how much Benson doesn’t like it). His numbers weren’t eye-popping, but they say a lot considering that they came against one of the best run-stopping defenses in the league. he did as well as anyone against them this year.

    – 49ers’ Gore: 22 att / 59 yd (2.7 yd/att)
    – Steelers’ Mendenhall: 19 att / 66 yd (3.5 yd/att)
    – Cardinals’ Smith: 17 att / 54 yd (3.2 yd/att)
    – Falcons’ Turner: 26 att / 70 yd (2.7 yd/att)
    – Giants’ Bradshaw: 17 att / 58 yd (3.4 yd/att)
    – Browns’ Hardesty: 33 att / 95 yd (2.9 yd/att)
    – Bengals’ Scott: 22 att / 76 yd (3.5 yd/att)

    I’m not saying to make Scott the primary back, but split them up more… not series to series, but play to play. They have a nice weapon in Scott and need to leverage him. It would be nice to find out what he can do, because I am not convinced they should pay much to bring Benson back next year.

  4. Seubs says:

    Yes Scott had a good game Sunday, but I still am not convinced he’s a feature back in the AFC North. Not with the pounding you’re going to take in this division. I am hoping that they either draft Trent Richardson from Alabama, or spend big on a guy like Matt Forte who will be a free agent.

    • Bill says:

      Again, I’m not saying to make Scott the feature back. I’m wondering, who says the Bengals have to have a feature back at all? Is Benson a feature back just because he can take the pounding?

      I like Ced, but his numbers are not all that and a bag of chips, either. He had one long TD run against the Browns. And he had a 28 yarder against the Bills. That’s it. Without those two runs (in more than double the opportunities of Scott), he is not all that productive.

      To this point, the carries have been split like this: Benson (65%), Scott (29%), Leonard (6%). Why not try a mix more like 50% – 40% – 10%? That’s all I’m saying.

  5. Nate says:

    I think the Bengals should play it a lot like the Steelers did with Willie Parker and Bettis. Parker, the speedier back, got more carries early. Bettis closed games out late. That’s the best plan of attack I think.

  6. Number 1 Fan says:

    I guess, but I think that people are so intrigued by Scott not because of what he has shown, but more about there is a possibility of him being special. Why mess with what is working to try an experiment?

    • Eric says:

      I wouldn’t necessarily call what’s going on now as “working”. Cedric Benson’s running isn’t exactly what would be termed efficient. Too many no-gain, negative yardage plays for me. I still think Scott can fit through holes Benson doesn’t even try, and if our back is going to always try and bounce it outside, it should be Scott, not Benson, who does it. Scott has a much better chance of success getting to the edge.

      I like the idea of Benson getting enough carries, but he should split them more with Scott. They can be a nice 1-2 punch. Besides, who really thinks Benson will be back next year? I don’t. But Scott will, along with a draft pick. Playing Scott a bit more now allows the team to see just what they have in him before they get to next year’s draft.

  7. Bill says:

    Suebs, I’d be all for getting Forte next year. Could this be an indication that he will be walking at the end of the year? http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/11/02/matt-forte-thinks-bears-are-grinding-me-into-a-pulp/