The Bleak Future Of Bernard Scott With The Cincinnati Bengals

Gregory Shamus

The Cincinnati Bengals want to add a two-back dynamic again in 2013 but need a "game changer". What does that mean for Bernard Scott?

The sound you heard percolating from upper New York was Joe Goodberry's enthusiastic high-five after Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden was quoted on Tuesday, saying that he could use a "game-changer" at running back. Now keep in mind that Jay Gruden won't direct or dictate with any authority on whom the Bengals draft or sign. Input, obviously with a little weight. But other aspects within this franchise needs addressing, such as the AARP members in the secondary, a possible linebacker exodus to prepare for, half the defensive line becoming free agents -- or half the team reaching free agency in one form or another.

Today's needs may not be the same needs tomorrow.

Behind the veil of bell cow rushers, ranging from Rudi Johnson, Cedric Benson and now BenJarvus Green-Ellis, the Bengals have failed to integrate a two-back system over the years. It was close in 2005 with Chris Perry supporting Rudi, but Perry was the team's third-leading receiver that year without much of a threat to dig into Johnson's 337 rushing attempts.

The Bengals tried this year. Wanted to. Signing BenJarvus Green-Ellis forced them to. Despite a sensational season behind tremendous blocking to generate (a shocking) seven 20-plus yard sprints, two of which were over 40 yards, Green-Ellis' primary designation was as a short-yardage back. He fulfilled his end of the deal beautifully, adding tasty icing on the cake, leading the NFL with the most conversions (14) on third and one or less.

Cincinnati wants to try again next year.

Leaving the question that will certainly wield a universal result.

Is Bernard Scott done in Cincinnati?

Don't get me wrong. I find it extremely likely that the team signs Scott to a one-year deal with minimum cash, at the very least to fill the position as a contingency if the draft and free agency doesn't go as planned and the Bengals fail to find an adequate replacement through other means.

Cedric Peerman obviously isn't the answer, or else Gruden would have mentioned it.

Scott's 2012 year was marred by injuries to his hand, ankle and now his knee, playing only two games and posting 35 yards rushing on eight carries -- 29 of those yards during a first quarter sprint against the Dolphins on Sunday. Despite the continued questions about his durability, it's the first time since 2009 that Scott will miss time due to an injury. Making matters worse for the fourth-year running back is that he's entering the offseason as an unrestricted free agent. Terrible news for a running back coming off a major knee injury.

Terrible news for Scott.

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