Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
While Bengals running back coach Jim Anderson is in Mobile, Alabama watching the Senior Bowl practices, he's scouting running backs and seeing if any of them have what it takes to be a Bengals "compliment-plus."
Saying the Bengals need some extra help at the running back position is saying that the sun will come up in the morning. BenJarvus Green-Ellis did a pretty good job for the Bengals in 2012, but he isn't the kind of running back that is considered a homerun threat. He grinds it out between the tackles and his specialty is short-yardage situations and in the red zone. The Bengals still need a running back like Green-Ellis, even if watching him run can be boring at times, but they also need somebody to help move the ball in big chunks down the field that has more speed.
According to Geoff Hobson, they don't need a compliment to Green-Ellis, but a "compliment-plus" due to the fact that whatever running back they draft needs to not only be able to move the ball on the outside, but they need to be able to run between the tackles as well. Bengals running backs coach Jim Anderson wants a guy that can be the team's No. 1 back if Green-Ellis was to go down.
"If you have a guy that can't do some of the things that he can do, and you really need a guy that can carry it a lot in this division, then you can't do what you do on offense," Anderson says. "You'd like the (other back) to emulate him in some way. Maybe the guy is like the other guy, but brings a few different things to the table. But sometimes you can't have your cake and eat it, too."
The Bengals thought they had that in Bernard Scott. However, Scott had durability issues and it's unclear as to whether or not the Bengals will be re-signing him for the 2013 season or beyond. If they decide not to re-sign Scott (or even if they do) it's looking like they will be bringing in a new running back in the draft. It also seems that they're not only looking for a guy who can carry the ball outside, but they're looking for a guy who can carry the load if he's asked to.
A good running game can take some pressure off of Andy Dalton as he enters his third season in the NFL. It keeps defenses honest and opens up the passing game as well as play action. Anderson has been coaching Bengals running backs for 30 years and is the longest-tenured assistant coach in the NFL. In his time with the Bengals he has helped produce 14 backs to have 100-yard games, 18 backs to have 1,000-yard seasons and 10 pro bowl running backs.
He's now looking for another guy who not only will work well with Green-Ellis in 2013, but can be the future of the position beyond the coming season.