Everywhere I look I see articles touting the Bengals' stellar offseason. Fantastic draft, smart trades, bolstered the defensive depth through free agency. And then I get to BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Yes, I believe he is an upgrade over Cedric Benson. I also don't think it would be hard to find an upgrade to Cedric Benson. Frankly, if Cedric Benson was 2 years younger he would be an upgrade to the 2012 model of Cedric Benson. Green-Ellis is steady, a great redzone scoring threat, and doesn't fumble. All things Benson was not. But there is always one thing that these articles mention that throws me for a loop: "Green-Ellis is a better receiver out fo the backfield than Benson."
For the life of me, I can't tell where ANYONE is getting this. It almost seems like it's just been said so many times that everyone has just accepted it as fact. Here are the actual facts. Since 2008:
Cedric Benson - 80 rec, 556 yds, 6.9 ypc, 1 TD
BenJarvus Green-Ellis - 26 rec, 292 yds, 11.2 ypc, 0 TD
Take into account however you'd like that Green-Ellis was having the ball passed to him by Tom Brady. However that might skew your interpretation, it should also be noted that 3 of those years Benson was playing for Bob Bratkowski and in 2010, the last year of that very un-WCO regime, he had 28 receptions or, if you prefer, more receptions than Green-Ellis has had in his entire career with the Patriots. Yes, his YPC is double Benson's, but his sample size is so small that it hardly seems to mean anything. I don't think even in a perfect world anyone expects him to put up 11 YPC in this offense. Ray Rice has a career YPC of 8.9.
So where is this image of Green-Ellis the prototypical WCO pass catching RB coming from? I've watched the guy play. There isn't anything intangible in his game that would lead me to believe he'd be a good target if he was utilized more. He certainly doesn't have any experience in a WCO.
We upgraded our line with WHarton and Zeitler and I do believe that Green-Ellis is a slight upgrade over Benson, but I still have to wonder if we should have been more aggressive about finding a real answer at RB. I don't think it will hamstring us this season, but I do think we'll be in the market for a 1st or 2nd round RB next year and I hope Green-Ellis' contract doesn't make us complacent to just stick with him like we did with Benson.