I got to thinking (mind trip, I know!). What if the Bengals take a radical approach with their running backs when they break training camp? What if they keep Cedric Benson as the feature back, make Bernard Scott your change-of-pace scat back and then use Fui Vakapuna as your third running back, who doubles as the team's goalline short-yardage back. There's three. If Jeremi Johnson takes advantage of his second-change opportunity and comes into camp in shape, that's going to be a decent lineup that has a style of back for every situation. What are you losing? Mostly Kenny Watson. He's always done what's asked of him, has been a decent hot-red back for Palmer in the past and is one the best blocking backs on roster taking on the blitz happy AFC North. Then there's Chris Pressley, another practice squad candidate who's looking to make the team's roster.
"I'm really anxious to get the pads on and show the coaches I've got the pop that they're looking for," Pressley said. "That's my game. Being physical, running into people.
"It's a position you want to be intimidating out there. Teams don't want to play against him knowing he's being reckless."
Chick Ludwig was impressed with both rookie fullbacks.
Watching Chris Pressley and Fui Vakapuna bust through the line of scrimmage like wrecking balls, I’m reminded of a scripture reading from the gospel according to Jim Anderson.
“Jimmy A,” the longtime Bengals running backs coach, said it when Nick Williams was drafted in 1999, and repeated it when Jeremi Johnson was drafted in 2003.
“I want to see snot bubbles when they hit people,” Anderson said.
Well, folks, I’m seeing snot bubbles from both of these guys.
I've been starting to wonder if the team will keep Jeremi Johnson and Fui Vakapuna on the roster when camp breaks. I think Vakapuna makes the team. The matter is whether Jeremi Johnson does. They could make Vakapuna the third back, while making Pressley the fullback. Or Vakapuna the backup running back and the Kenny Watson the third back. Joe Reedy said of Vakapuna, "Fullback and seventh-round pick Fui Vakapuna showed some nice bursts of speed on a couple running plays." Pressley and Jeremi compete for the fullback spot. Of course, there's a long way to go before all that happens. And I would bank on the team placing Scott on the team's practice squad before giving him shotgun in the car unless he has a phenomenal training camp and pre-season, and the team feels comfortable and confident in Scott's ability to stay clear of the Cincinnati nightlife.
I've been saying this about the offensive line, and I'll say it for running backs. We have options.