Football Outsiders does a nice job making readers aware of statistics that they did not previously know. Their latest statistical analysis comes in the form of broken tackles. The Football Outsiders define a "broken tackle" as, the ball carrier escaping from the grasp of the defender, or the ball carrier juking out a defensive player that was in good position to make a tackle. Many would likely not be surprised that the Bengals were tied for third to last in percentage of plays with a broken tackle last season.
According to Football Outsiders, the Bengals ran 1004 offensive plays last season. They had only 37 plays with a broken tackle, resulting in only 39 broken tackles total. That ends up as only 3.7 percent of plays resulting in a broken tackle for the Bengals. The team with the best broken tackle percentage was the Philadelphia Eagles, with 8.4 percent. This was in large part to quarterback Michael Vick tying Tim Tebow for the league lead in most broken tackles by a quarterback, with 22. Eagles running back LeSean McCoy also had the most broken tackles by a running back, with 50.There were only two teams that trailed the Bengals in broken tackle percentage last season. They were the NewYork Jets (3.3) and the St. Louis Rams (2.9). One of the main reasons for the Bengals being near the bottom was the lack of broken tackles by running back Cedric Benson. Benson finished fourth to last in broken tackle percentage. He had 273 carries, with 10 broken tackles. This resulted in a 3.5 percentage of broken tackles. The only backs that trailed Benson in that statistic last season were Peyton Hills, Danny Woodhead, and Thomas Jones. This was a drastic change from 2010 for Benson, who had 30 broken tackles that season, and an 8.6 percentage rate.
In 2010, new Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis finished fifth to last in broken tackle percentage, with a 4.1 percentage rate. This is not surprising, as Green-Ellis is not known as a back likely to break many tackles. If the Bengals want to improve on their broken tackle rate from last season, they will likely need to draft a shifty back in the first three rounds. Some possibilities could be Miami (FL) running back Lamar Miller, Virginia Tech's David Wilson, Oregon's LaMichael James, and Cincinnati's Isaiah Pead. Many of these running backs could follow in the footsteps of Falcon's back Jacquizz Rodgers, who lead rookies with 19 broken tackles. He did this while getting only 78 touches.