HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07: Bernard Scott #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the ball against the Houston Texans during their 2012 AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Reliant Stadium on January 7, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
The under-utilization of Cincinnati Bengals running back Bernard Scott has been an annoyance for many fans over the past couple seasons. While Cedric Benson was getting upwards of 25 touches a game at times, Scott was lucky to see six. Of course, there were times that Scott didn't necessarily make the most of those six carries, but most Bengals fans believe that the team needs to give him a larger role in order to see him flourish in stripes.
Now Benson is gone and even though the Bengals have brought in free agent running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis to fill the void, there is a sense that the running game is going to be different in 2012. Green-Ellis, a between-the-tackles type of back, will still likely get the bulk of the carries, but Scott could get a much larger role, especially since the team decided not to draft a running back until they were on the clock with their final pick.
This is something that is exciting to not only fans, but according to Dan Hoard on Bengals.com, to Scott as well.
"I've been hearing that we're going to use a ‘running back by committee' so that's exciting," Scott told me. "That's going to help us last longer and give other people a chance to touch the ball. We all have the same goal - just to get the ‘W' so that's all that matters.
"Going into my exit meeting (last year), Coach Lewis told me they were going to bring in running backs. They have to make it a competition so you know that they are always going to bring in somebody. It makes you work harder to compete for the job."
Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has dropped hints that he wants to use a running back by committee style in 2012 to maximize the potential of the running game while cutting down on wear and tear and predictability. While Green-Ellis' skill set keeps him between the tackles often, Scott's opens things up for the offense. Since this is a contract year for Scott, getting on the field will be important to the future of his career in the NFL.
He's confident that as long as he takes care of business, he's going to get a shot to prove his worth this season, though.
"I feel like my opportunity is going to come," said Scott. "If I come into camp in shape and prepared to handle my business, I think that I'm going to get more opportunities."
Scott isn't just excited about his potential opportunity to shine on the field, but he's also excited about the makeup of the team. He was a part of a massively overachieving Bengals squad in 2011 that really turned a lot of heads. The Bengals have made smart moves this offseason and they have brought in more talent, especially in the draft. Scott believes that the team's youth and its hunger to succeed will drive them to another successful season.
"I think we have one of the best quarterbacks and receivers in the game," Bernard told me. "We have a lot of young, hungry guys on our team and everybody has a lot that they want to prove. We're confident but we're still hungry because we still have a lot to prove. I'm looking for big things this year, so we'll see what happens."
I hope he's right.