CINCINNATI - DECEMBER 26: Bernard Scott #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball during the NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 26 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio. The Bengals 34-20. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Bengals running back Cedric Benson is expected to miss Cincinnati's October 30 meeting against the Seattle Seahawks, serving his one-game suspension that was handed down during the same beautiful morning that Cincinnati traded quarterback Carson Palmer to the Oakland Raiders; it's somewhat forgivable if the suspension still hasn't hit home with Bengals fans. However with the likelihood that the Bengals won't have their veteran long-term bellcow running back that's proven to eat carries, which directly affects the click management during games, the one player that could finally benefit is backup running back Bernard Scott. And it wouldn't be his first chance.
During Cincinnati's 18-12 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 15, 2009, Benson suffered a hip flexor strain with 4:02 remaining the second quarter that not only forced him to miss the rest of the game, but sit out the following three. The Bengals decided to sign Larry Johnson to the veteran minimum soon after, who would prove to be a reasonable productive running back later in the season.
Though he didn't start the next game against the Oakland Raiders as the team's running back (Brian Leonard did), Scott would take on the role as the team's feature back, posting 119 yards rushing on 21 carries and a career high 151 yards from scrimmage. Scott was nominated for the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week. The following week, while Benson was finally ruled out Sunday morning as a dame-time decision, Scott posted his first NFL start against the Cleveland Browns. For a time he was playing well, until suffering a mild toe injury that forced him to miss three consecutive games games against the Lions, Vikings and Chargers while failing to post a single rush against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The issue in Scott's case has been, and until further notice, will be his durability. Though he posted 21 carries against the Raiders, he still suffered leg cramps. If Scott gets the start next weekend and is defined as the team's feature back, and if Scott plays the game through relative health, it will go a long way towards building Scott's chances to take over as the team's feature back once Benson finally departs.