Cedric Benson has been the man at the running back position for the Bengals since they signed him as a free agent in 2008. Over the course of the past two seasons Benson has rushed for 2,362 yards and scored 13 rushing touchdowns. While his 3.8 yards per carry average isn't spectacular, he has proven himself to be a steady presence in the backfield, able to carry the football 20 plus times per game in the rough and tumble AFC North.
The question remains as to who will serve as Benson's backups when the season starts. Running back coach Jim Anderson said, "Its a very competitive situations. The next two weeks will be interesting to see how it unfolds. It's going to be fun."
The most probable candidates are Brian Leonard and Bernard Scott, followed by Jay Finley, Cedric Peerman and John Griffin. Brian Leonard seems to have the 3rd down back spot lined up. He's made some plays in that role before for the Bengals, and has recorded one of the Bengals biggest plays this preseason with his 33 yard catch and run against the New York Jets. Assuming he stays healthy, Leonard should have a productive year in the new West Coast offense.
Bernard Scott, who is battling a hamstring injury has yet to play this preseason, although that looks to be change as he is gearing up to play against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday, August 25th. Scott has tremendous speed and is valuable in a change-of-pace type role to relieve Benson.
While Leonard and Scott are effective backs in their respective roles, neither one has shown the ability to stay healthy or to carry the football 20 plus times in a game if Benson goes down to injury. Jay Finley, Cedric Peerman and John Griffin look to be competing for spots on the practice squad.
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