Oh dear Rudi Johnson, where are you? Sorry, feeling a bit nostalgic about the only season in my lifetime that I could watch the Bengals with a winning record, causally drinking a Budweiser (legally). So in 2007, Rudi Johnson had constant hamstring problems, with a dreadful rush-blocking offensive line, and finished the season with 497 yards rushing; averaging 2.9 yards-per-rush. He got stronger, more fit, more 2005-Rudi and the Bengals cut him to save $3.2 million; in which the Bengals have yet to distribute.
The plan was to implement Chris Perry as the team's feature back, use Kenny Watson at some point (though finding Watson is harder than infiltrating Area 51), and use DeDe Dorsey to back up both. Watson's been missing even when healthy and Dorsey is on Injured Reserve. The irony here is that Chris Perry has been performing worse than Rudi Johnson, averaging 2.8 yards-per-rush. Woefully worse is that Chris Perry is fumbling footballs, losing momentum and chances for us to win.
To say that Perry has been super-disappointing would be an understatement. To say that Perry is a starting feature back in this league, would be lying through my teeth. True, the offensive line truly has issues rush blocking. But to blame them, over Chris Perry, is a lazy argument. The offensive line struggles to block (boy, that's a nice way of saying it) and Perry can't break a tackle; not to mention fumblitis. Let's just say both are horrible, aye-eat?
So the Bengals signed Cedric Benson; primarily because the team has one healthy running back (which is ironic when that running back is Perry). Scouts, Inc. writes that Benson is similar to Perry:
Though Perry is still the starter, Benson will definitely play more of a role in the running game on Sunday against the New York Jets and looks like he's being groomed to take over as starter for the rest of the season. Both backs are similar physically, though Benson doesn't have Perry's power into the hole. And like Perry, Benson lacks top elusiveness and explosiveness through the hole. The main reason he washed out of Chicago is because he simply wasn't aggressive enough, especially for the bruising NFC North. Benson has yet to play up to his measurables, often falling down on first contact and failing to finish runs.
I hate harping on this, but the Bengals are stuck with offensive linemen that simply need to go. Levi Jones is done; he takes shots into his knees before games that even has Joe Walter saying, "oh man, that's not good." Eric Ghiaciuc is the only offensive linemen that gets pancaked by defensive linemen and Andrew Whitworth (as much as I like the guy) isn't what you'd call a typical guard; he tends to be slow on the pull, and (at times) doesn't finish the block.
So Scouts, Inc. says that Benson is another Perry, with less power up the gut. Interestingly enough, during the game against the Cowboys, I thought Benson was much more physical than Perry, broke a few tackles and leaned forward for positive yards; which isn't consistent with judging Perry.