Saturday's scrimmage, though not much more than an ramped-up walkthrough, did provide some insight on what we could be expecting from the club in the early part of the season. If you read the reviews of the scrimmage from the Bengals beat writers, as well as our own Cincy Jungle writers who were in attendance, one of the things you would have heard about the stout goal line defense that the team displayed.
The offense was stopped on roughly six of seven goal line attempts on Sunday, with the lone touchdown coming courtesy of new Bengals running back, BenJarvus Green-Ellis. It's not exactly a sign of relief for 2012, especially when the team fininshed ranked 25th in red zone scoring in 2011. However, The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy grabbed a good quote from "The Law Firm" which shows his and the offense's dedication right the ship.
"Our mindset is that we want to score touchdowns and not field goals. Nothing against Mike (Nugent) or anything but our goal is when coach puts us on the field we have to get six points and not three."
Although this just may sound like typical player-speak, you have to remember that this was Green-Ellis' specialty while with the New England Patriots was punching it in when the team was in goal line formations. In case you hadn't heard, Green-Ellis had 24 rushing touchdowns over the past two seasons, while amassing double-digit numbers in both 2010 and 2011 (13 and 11, respectively). By comparison, former starter Cedric Benson scored 21 touchdowns in his four years as a Bengal.
The Bengals had close games that worked both in and against their favor in 2011. Those games' end results often hinged on the fact that the team had to settle for three points instead of six. Hopefully Green-Ellis is a key piece to solving the problem that this offense faced last year. If he is, it will take a lot of pressure off of second-year quarterback Andy Dalton and, really, the rest of the team.