“The running game nowadays, you need to have a couple of guys that can tote it,” Redskins HC Jay Gruden told Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro on ESPN 980 earlier this week. “Sixteen games is a long time, that’s a lot of games, a lot of carries, that’s a lot of hits on these running backs.”
Gruden said that he would like to split up the carries more than he did last year, when he went with what was mostly a one-back attack. Alfred Morris had 265 rushing attempts. The other tailbacks on the roster, Roy Helu, Silas Redd, and Chris Thompson, combined for 59 rushing attempts. That is 82 percent of the carries for Morris, 18 percent for the rest.
In his three years as the offensive coordinator with the Bengals, Gruden spread the workload in different ways in different seasons. In 2012 he had BenJarvus Green-Ellis take 80 percent of the tailback rushing attempts. But in 2011 it was a 70-30 split between Cedric Benson and Bernard Scott. And in 2013 Cincinnati drafted Giovani Bernard and gave him 170 carries to 220 for Green-Ellis (that’s a 56-44 split in percentage terms).
So maybe splitting up the running back carries isn’t so much a matter of philosophy for Gruden as much as doing things the way the quality of his stable of running backs dictates. He told Sheehan and Loverro that he will see who can earn the carries that Morris won’t get.
“I think you give Alfred the bulk of [the carries] and then Matt Jones comes in there, it could be Chris Thompson, it could be Silas Redd,” he said. “We’ll see how camp goes to see who deserves the carries, who’s going to get the carries. They have to prove then can protect the ball, No. 1, and prove they can pick up blitzes, No. 2 and then they will get some carries behind Alfred.”
We're still expecting Morris to see the vast majority of the carries, but this is something to keep in mind if another back flashes in the preseason. In his first three seasons, Morris has finished #5, #14 and #13 in standard formats. He's more of a RB2 in PPR leagues (#7, #19, #17) since he has only averaged 0.8 receptions per game in his career. Bill Callahan's arrival (as offensive line coach) should help the effectiveness of the team's running game, which in turn will help Morris's fantasy production. He's a solid value and a safe pick in the 3rd/4th round of early PPR drafts. He should go in the 2nd/3rd in standard leagues.
Sunday, May 10, 2015, 8:01pm
Following a three day rookie mini-camp that included the team's newest draft picks, 11 undrafted free agent signings and 19 unsigned tryout participants, the Cincinnati Bengals decided to add three new members to the team – including former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
The Bengals drafted a pair of tight ends over the weekend, but it doesn’t look like concerns about Tyler Eifert’s recovery from shoulder and elbow surgeries was the impetus to double down on the position.
Eifert said Monday that he’s waiting to get full clearance to return from his shoulder injury, a torn labrum that he had repaired after dislocating his elbow in the first game of last season. He expects to get that clearance before the start of training camp and is working to rebuild his strength until then.
With Jermaine Gresham out of the way, Eifert should be a nice late-round pick provided he can stay healthy. He has good size and speed, and showed pretty good hands as a rookie. He only played about 60 percent of the snaps in 2013, and averaged 0.14 FP (PPR) per snap. Extrapolate the same production to 90 percent of the snaps (which is typical for a starting tight end), and Eifert shouldn't have any problem posting top 15 numbers. With solid improvement, he could very well be this year's Jordan Cameron (2013) or Travis Kelce (2014).
Monday, April 20, 2015, 5:30pm
Browns TE Rob Housler, 27, confirmed the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals were interested in signing him, but he said he ultimately chose the Browns partly because of the opportunities he expects to receive in new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo’s scheme. Housler emphasized the coach affectionately known as “Flip” wants to move him around a lot in the offense and feature him as a vertical threat in the middle of the field.
“It was a big factor,” Housler said of weighing the pass-catching opportunities each of his suitors would likely grant him. “I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum where I’ve been a part of targets and a part of the flow and rhythm of the offense, and I’ve seen where it goes other ways. For me, I want to be a big part of the offense. So that was a big consideration. I’m confident in my ability, and I just want to be able to contribute.”
Housler should get plenty of chances as the Browns try to compensate for losing Cameron, whom they attempted to re-sign before he bolted to Miami.
Housler signed a one-year deal with aligns with his expectation that he'll be a big part of the offense. He has great athleticism for his position, but so far that athleticism hasn't translated to on-field production. Part of the problem is that he was an afterthought in the Arizona offense, but it sounds as if the Browns intend to utilize his speed down the seam.
Thursday, April 9, 2015, 10:25am
According to Paul Dehner of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Bengals are expected to re-sign the veteran running back later today.
The Bengals like Peerman’s ability on special teams, as he has just 64 carries in his five seasons there.
Moore caught 33 passes for 618 yards and five touchdowns while also running for one score that season and he followed that up with seven more touchdown catches the next year. He continued to play a prominent role in the offense in 2013, but drifted into an insignificant role with Oakland last season.
Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was the head coach in Oakland when Moore was a rookie during the 2011 season. The problem for Moore's fantasy potential is he'll be behind A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones and the recently re-signed Brandon Tate, at least heading into OTAs and camp.
Saturday, April 4, 2015, 1:46pm
Tate (6-1, 195; North Carolina) is a seventh-year NFL player for 2015. He has not missed a regular season or postseason game in the last five years, including four with the Bengals. Last season he logged 17 receptions for 193 yards (11.4) and one TD. He also rushed three-for-21 (7.0), averaged 9.7 yards on 18 punt returns and averaged 22.1 yards on 18 kickoff returns.
Saturday, April 4, 2015, 1:44pm
For the fourth time since free agency opened last month, the Bengals have re-signed a player who had left and gone away. On Thursday it was Josh Johnson, quarterback Andy Dalton’s backup from 2013, after he signed a one-year deal that figures to be for near the minimum.
The Bengals were thought to be interested in re-signing 2014 backup Jason Campbell, but there was talk he has been considering retirement and the Bengals moved back to Johnson, a seven-year veteran turning 29 next month.
All signs have been pointing to A.J. McCarron still getting dibs on the backup spot that has been manned by three different players under Dalton.
Bengals.com writer Geoff Hobson on the team's running back situation: Jeremy Hill may be the bell cow next year, but Giovani Bernard is still going to get a lot of key touches as the change-of-pace guy. If Hill gets 15-to-20 touches a game, Gio gets 8-11. The only question is how. I think Hue Jackson uses him a lot more in the pass game this year. With Jermaine Gresham expected to be gone, I’m going to write in Gio for 60 catches.
Over the first seven weeks, Bernard averaged 18.7 touches compared to 9.0 for rookie Jeremy Hill. The script flipped once Bernard missed three games in the middle of the season due to injury. Hill averaged 22.0 touches for nearly 130 yards during that span and took over as the team's primary runner. Then, over the final six games, Hill averaged 20.0 touches for 104 total yards, while Bernard saw 13.3 touches for 67 total yards. Bernard averaged 12.2 PPR FP in that span, so he should still be a solid RB2 in PPR formats, even in a reduced role.
Bengals.com writer Geoff Hobson on the team's TE situation: It looks like there is a very good possibility they won’t re-sign Jermaine Gresham, but it’s not a pass catcher they need to replace. They’ve got that in Tyler Eifert. They’re going to need a big guy that can block the tall, lean, big pass rushers like Terrell Suggs. Gresham did a good job with that and I suspect they’ll have an easier time finding that guy in free agency rather than the draft. The guy won’t be the target that Gresham is, but they’ll still be able to play double tight end sets.
If Gresham is out of the way, Eifert should be a nice late-round pick provided he can stay healthy. He has good size and speed, and showed pretty good hands as a rookie. He only played about 60 percent of the snaps in 2013, and averaged 0.14 FP (PPR) per snap. Extrapolate the same production to 90 percent of the snaps (which is typical for a starting tight end), and Eifert shouldn't have any problem posting top 15 numbers. With solid improvement, he could very well be this year's Jordan Cameron (2013) or Travis Kelce (2014).
“I’ve got the green light to do anything and everything I need to do to get back to where I need to be,” Bengals WR Marvin Jones texted Thursday after another workout. “I’ve been surprised at the progress I’ve made in only going on my second week training and at the rate I’m going I’m sure I will be in game shape very soon.”
Jones was one of our favorite sleepers heading into the season, but ankle and foot injuries made it a "lost year" for the talented wideout. Mohamed Sanu stepped in and shined as the team's WR2 opposite A.J. Green. If Jones and TE Tyler Eifert make a full recovery, Andy Dalton will have a nice group of receivers to target in 2015.
We'd like to hear that he'll be available for minicamp, but this is the next best thing. He was a breakout candidate coming into the 2014 season and could be a prime late-round value pick in 2015 drafts if Jermaine Gresham moves on. (Gresham is a free agent.)
Herron finished with 22 touches for 141 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals, but fumbled twice, losing one. Zurlon Tipton played more snaps after Herron's first fumble, but Herron was in for all of the passing down work, which led to 10 catches for 85 yards. Herron should be a good play in what might be a high-scoring game against Denver.
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