Cincinnati Bengals running backs coach (Hue Jackson) loves himself some Giovani Bernard. Reflecting on the second-round pick's skill sets, Jackson believes Bernard can literally do it all.
"We’re looking for a guy who would fit what we do, who can catch it and run with it," Jackson said of Giovani after the NFL Draft. "But you also have to be able to pass protect and be multifaceted, and the young man has that skill set."
This leads Jackson to conclusively promote Bernard as an "every down player."
"Having evaluated him and watched every game he played this year and had a chance to work him out, and having spent a lot of time with him," Jackson said of Bernard, "He has that skill set where I think he could play and be an every down player."
But we doubt it's going to happen this year.
Cincinnati is invested in the two-back system, both philosophically and financially, and if we're to bet on which running back carries the football more, we're inclined to agree with Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis isn't the exciting homerun hitter that Bernard has the potential of becoming. Instead he's rock solid, especially as a short-down runner. Green-Ellis led the NFL with 14 third-and-one conversions and he did it on only 15 attempts. Yet he still generated two runs over 40 yards, three over 30, and six over 20. So don't let the short yard conversions fool you, the man can break one off. Granted, he needs for big holes, whereas Giovani has the potential to make things happen on his own.
Additionally, Green-Ellis has scored 30 touchdowns in the past three seasons, which ranks fourth behind names like Arian Foster, Adrian Peterson, and Michael Turner. During a five-game stretch in 2012, Green-Ellis rushed for over 100 yards four times (he fell 11 yards short against the Dallas Cowboys from making it five-straight). It's the first time that's happened in franchise history since Cincinnati's inaugural season in 1968 (Paul Robinson).
We're not saying that Bernard won't be the best running back with the Cincinnati Bengals, and maybe he already is, but he won't be an every down back this year.