Bengals offense will focus more on running the football

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Huge Jackson made no bones about it. The Bengals are going to run the football more.

The word of the day, power running.

With the team announcing that Hue Jackson is taking over as the team's offensive coordinator, there was a clear declaration that Cincinnati will run the ball more.

"We know we need to run the football. We want to run the football. I think that’s where it starts," said Jackson during Friday's presser, transcribed by the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Jackson's two most successful seasons as a play-caller came as a coordinator and head coach with the Oakland Raiders in 2010 and 2011, led by an influential running game. However, one shouldn't mistake Jackson's desire to run the ball more often as a subtle hint that the passing game will suffer.

"From there, we have some very talented players on the outside," said Jackson. "We have to give them opportunities to make plays. We’re not going to shy away from having to throw it when we need to. In order to win and be a very good offensive football team, you have to be able to run the ball, and that’s going to be a starting point for us."

Cincinnati has ranked inside the top-ten in rushing only one time during Marvin Lewis' reign when Cedric Benson, Bernard Scott and Larry Johnson ranked ninth in the NFL, averaging 128.5 yards rushing per game. Only twice in the previous eight seasons have the Bengals averaged four yards rushing or more, per attempt, during an entire season.

Yet it makes sense for the Bengals to lower the amount of times that Andy Dalton is throwing the football. That's not a criticism against the third-year quarterback entering his fourth season. However, when the Bengals have won only three of 12 games in which Dalton throws 40 times or more, clearly things aren't working.

"We’re talking football on paper right now. We’re going to have to go 11 on 11, and we’re going to have to grind and get it done. And eventually that’s going to happen. We’ve got to be great at everything we do, all phases of it. Like I said three years ago when we made the change over, I want to package the run and the pass together and be the most productive team in the NFL at doing it. And we’ve made great strides. We’re not there yet."

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