According to the media reports from Wednesday's practice, Benson is in vintage form. At 28, healthy, comfortable in his surroundings, and embracing the new offense, Benson sounded ready to lug it 25 times tomorrow.
"I'm beyond football shape," Benson told the media. "I'm in 16 regular-game, four postseason-game kind of shape. I'm ready to roll…with this extended lockout, you've had all this extra time to work out. I haven't trained like this since I don't know when. It should be a lot of guys coming back in their best athletic (shape)."
"If our strength is running the football," said Jay Gruden Wednesday, "then we have to find a way to get the best possible scenarios to get Cedric as many touches as possible without killing him."
Benson has just 65 catches in his three seasons as a Bengal and Jay Gruden also know he's got a secret weapon out of the backfield in Bernard Scott. Secret because in his two seasons the Bengals have thrown just 16 balls to him.
"The back is definitely a very important part of this offense both running and catching the ball," Gruden said. "Hopefully between Cedric and Bernard and (Brian) Leonard somebody will jump up and take over in the backfield as far as catching the ball. We know that Cedric and Bernard can run it. We've just got to see who can catch the ball more effectively."
The Bengals are talking as if Cedric Benson is a lock in their plans heading into 2011. That's not necessarily the case as Benson has stated he will test free agency to get himself a big payday.