Giovani Bernard turned in a highlight of highlights on his 35 yard run for a touchdown on Thursday night. This left Bengals fans clamoring for more on social media and the forums here at CJ. Up until the point he was forced to leave the game with a rib injury.
The league took notice. The run was featured on many top plays of the weekend lists. It was highlighted many times on NFL network. It was the kind of run we thought we would occasionally see from the kid when he was drafted.
There is no question the Bengals need to increase the looks to Bernard. He is a play-maker in the run as well as the passing game and can make things happen when the offense is struggling. (as we witnessed in Miami)
The question is, can Giovani handle the load? The rib injury came on a relatively routine run up the middle (or was it the flip into the end zone?). Coming out of the draft one of the knocks on Bernard was that he was injury prone. CBS draft sheet on him had the following:
"He has strong durability concerns, missing two games in 2012 and parts of several other contests with various injuries including to his shoulder and lower body (also tore his ACL in 2010)."
The rigors of being an every down running back can take a toll on a body. Especially a rookie who may already be prone to getting nicked up. So the Bengals are going to have a bit of a juggling act to perform. They need to find the balance between getting a play-maker a bunch of touches, with keeping him healthy for the stretch into the playoffs. Not having much history on Bernard makes this difficult.
So for now, know that the splitting of time between Giovani Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a good thing for the long run. Bernard should see his touches increase, I just hope it doesn't lead to another injury. We can all agree the injury bug has done enough damage to the Bengals this season.