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.