While I begrudgingly required hundreds of dollars of work on my car Wednesday, we commented on a Pro Football Focus analysis that of Cedric Benson's 349 touches (rush attempts and receptions), 8.6% of those plays resulted in at least one broken tackle. The league's most productive running back Adrian Foster broke 11.5% of his tackles while guys like New Orleans' Chris Ivory (19.6%) and Seattle's Marshawn Lynch (16.1%) produced some of the best broken tackle rates in the league. Yet Benson's broken tackle rate, while not special, isn't horrifyingly bad as it sounds. Dallas' Tashard Choice (2.4%), Arizona's Chris Wells (3.3%) and New York's LaDainian Tomlinson (3.7%) posted some of the league's worst broken tackle rates.
Compared to his AFC North contemporaries, Benson isn't far from their production. Cleveland's Patrick Hillis broke tackles on 10.6% of his 331 touches while Pittsburgh's Rashard Mendenhall broke tackles on 9.5% of his touches. Ray Rice? He was the worst in the division, breaking only 5.9% of his touches.
Perspective is important here. It would be great if Benson broke every tackle, scored long touchdowns and shattered league records. The truth is, Benson's broken tackle rate isn't even the worst in the division and and he's comparatively close to the Mendenhall and Hillis. Additionally, the Bengals had too many problems on offense last year to completely lay the fault on Benson. The offensive line wasn't the wrecking crew on running downs like they were in 2009. Bob Bratkowski's offense struggled to find any rhythm all season because the team often played from behind, forcing the offense to throw the football more often.
Through it all, Benson is still one of the team's top priority signings when the new league year begins.
And the feeling is mutual.
According to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Bengals running back Cedric Benson said during Wednesday's team workout that he'd like to continue his NFL career in Cincinnati, if the Bengals want to re-sign him. One of the main reasons is the new offensive that's being implemented this season. And if he does return, expect him to be a bigger leader on this team.
“I’ve been very passive the last three years almost because I’ve had to,” Benson said. “I’m not saying I’m a totally different person or I’d be crazy vocal or anything like that. I would be a little bit more expressive. I work hard and am passionate about it. I want the guys I’m playing with to be the same way.”