The Cincinnati Bengals running back situation is fast becoming a glaring problem that can be easily resolved. Currently, the Bengals have three running backs on the roster but only one has proven that he is worthy of being the starter. Kenny Watson, who came to the Bengals from the Washington Redskins, showed last season that he has the fire and ability to be a starting running back. He showed that he can hit the hole rapidly and get the extra yards that Rudi Johnson was unable to get after his return from injury. Watson led the team last season in rushing yards with 763 yards averaging 4.3 yards per carry while having to give time to Rudi. Although he never showed breakaway speed, Kenny Watson was able to move the ball consistently giving the Bengals offense chances to capitalize.
But this season, the Bengals sent Rudi Johnson packing and Kenny Watson suffered a preseason injury. That left Chris Perry as the starter. But Perry has proven he is not up to the task by showing little or no ability to not only find the hole, but to advance the ball with any consistency. He may currently lead the team in rushing with 239 yards with a pedestrian average of 2.8 yards per carry, but that just shows how bad the running back situation is for the Bengals. Another problem with Perry is his inability to protect the ball as he has fumbled 5 times already at inopportune times and now suddenly can’t catch the ball.
The Bengals signed Cedric Benson on September 30th and played in the game against the Dallas Cowboys, rushing 10 times for 30 yards and currently has 36 yards on 14 rushes, which works out to be 2.5 yards per carry. Benson came into the league as a 1st round draft pick from the Chicago Bears rushing for 1593 yards on 420 carries averaging 3.8 yards per carry during his career there (2005-07). Against the Cowboys, he looked to have the ability to hit the hole with some power and authority. But against the New York Jets, the few times he was able to get the ball, he was stopped at the line of scrimmage for little or no gain.
The Bengals have one running back that is clearly the starter and two other serviceable running backs. Chris Perry has proven he can only run from sideline to sideline gaining little if any yardage; thinks he is an every down back, but has yet to prove it. Cedric Benson just arrived and is not sure where he fits in, but proved in Chicago he can spell the primary running back providing a change of pace for the offense. But Kenny Watson showed last season that he not only wants to be the go-to man in the back field, but has proven that he should be. Now that he is on the active roster, he should be handed the starting job in order for the Bengals offense to have a chance at advancing the ball.