After Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard was limited during Thursday's practice with a hamstring, the slithery multi-purpose back worked early during Friday's session and "looked smooth running pass routes."
If Bernard is a go - and there's no reason to suggest otherwise - then he could figure to have his contributions significantly increased "sooner rather than later." Through two games this year, Bernard has taken part in 51 offensive snaps but has only ran the football 14 times -- 27.5 percent. Twenty eight of those snaps were routes. Comparatively speaking, Green-Ellis has run the football on 43 percent of his offensive snaps.
Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden doesn't want to change the play-calling based on who's in the game.
"Sometimes I need to know when Gio is in there because there might be a different set of plays for Gio more so than Benny," said Gruden via the Cincinnati Enquirer. "But really, they complement each other and both can do similar things. Gio, obviously, out in space is more productive. I try not to alter my play-calling too much when one is in there."
Green-Ellis currently leads the team 100 yards rushing on 36 carries, which averages out to only a 2.8 yard/rush. However, Green-Ellis is resuming his successes on third and short situations, converting both third-and-one opportunities this year - he's currently one of only five players in the league to convert two or more third-and-ones without being stopped.
Against the Steelers, Bernard touched the football nine times for 65 yards from scrimmage (7.2 yards/play) while scoring the team's long touchdowns. Green-Ellis touched football 23 times for 80 yards from scrimmage (3.5 yard/play), just under half of Bernard's production. The rotation and split participation should help the team later in the season.
"As a running back in a 16-game season if you can take some plays off of your starter or Gio then it is a good thing," Gruden said. "You want those guys fresh Week 14. You don’t want to bang a guy into the ground. You are already worn down by playoff push time. You want them to be fresh and full tank of gas at that time. This will help both of them."