FanPost

Are Bengals going to run a lot more in 2014? No, and here’s why

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Half a year ago, Jay Gruden was hired by the still-named Redskins as their most recent head coach. His vacated position as Offensive Coordinator was filled by internally promoting Hue Jackson.

Since then, much of the talk regarding the Bengals’ offense has been about how the Bengals are going to run more, and become a run-heavy team (like San Francisco & Seattle).

But is this an accurate assessment of what Hue’s 2014 offense will look like?


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The assumption that Hue will make the offense run-heavy stems primarily from his press conference comments which were made shortly after being promoted to Offensive Coordinator.

Here are some of his statements which concern running the football:

... "We know we need to run the football. We want to run the football. I think that’s where it starts."

... "You have to be able to run the ball, and that’s going to be a starting point for us."

... "Our offense -- starts with being physical. You have to be able to run the football, in my mind, to win football games. You can’t become one-dimensional in pro football anymore."

... "You have to be able to run it, but you also have to be able to throw it. And sometimes you have to be able to dictate when you want to run it."

Taken by themselves, these comments seem to imply a team that is going to run more.

. We WANT to run the football.

. We NEED to run the football.

. Running is where it STARTS.

. We have to be able to run the football.

. Be able to DICTATE when you want to run it.

. Etc., Etc., Etc...

Hue_jackson_640_medium

But what is Hue really talking about? Is he really talking about a massive increase in rushing attempts?

Take a look at Hue’s last 2 seasons in Oakland:

In 2010 Hue’s Oakland Raiders’ offense averaged 4.9 Yards per Rush (51% rush)

In 2011 Hue’s Oakland Raiders’ offense averaged 4.5 Yards per Rush (47% rush)

Take a look at the Bengals’ offense since Hue came here:

In 2012 Jay’s Cincinnati Bengals’ offense averaged 4.1 Yards per Rush (44% rush)

In 2013 Jay’s Cincinnati Bengals’ offense averaged 3.6 Yards per Rush (45% rush)

The Bengals % of rushing plays in 2013 was 45%.

This is not very far off from the 47% rushes that Hue used his last year in Oakland.

Also, that 45% placed the Bengals 11th overall in % of rushing.

The Bengals were already one of the more run-heavy teams last year.

They could run the ball a little more in 2014, but even if they increase their rushing % from 45% to 47%, that’s only a 2% increase – barely noticeable. (A 2% drop in Dalton’s passing yards from last year would still be over 4,000).

There isn’t much room for the Bengals to run too much more, since they are practically on the cusp of being a top-10 rush-heavy team already, and aren’t too far from Hue’s rush % in Oakland. And, of course, Hue didn’t have the likes of AJ Green or Jones or Eifert to throw the ball to.

Kirby-lee-hue-jackson-giovani-bernard-_medium

So what is Hue really talking about? Is he really talking about a massive increase in rushing attempts?

Take a look at those Yards per Rush rates:

In Oakland, Hue’s Raiders cranked out 4.9 ypc and 4.5 ypc.

In Cincy, the Bengals have only been able to attain 4.1 ypc, and last year a very lousy 3.6 ypc.

That’s almost a whole yard per carry drop from Oakland to Cincy.

If you consider the ineffectiveness of the Bengals’ running game in 2013, and revisit Hue’s press conference comments:

. We WANT to run the football.

. We NEED to run the football.

. Running is where it STARTS.

. We have to be able to run the football.

. Etc., Etc., Etc...

It becomes apparent that Hue is not necessarily saying that the Bengals will run the ball MORE, but rather, that they need to run the ball BETTER (More effectively - Better ypc).

The Bengals need to be able to dictate when they are going to run, and need to be able to run to win. That doesn’t mean they need to run all the time. But that does mean they need to get more than 3 yards when they run.

Bengals-jackson-0111-2-300x300_medium

Also, here are a few more reasons to believe that Hue is not drastically changing the Bengals’ offense to a heavy, heavy run-oriented system.

#1 The Trade

In 2011 Hue gave up 2 high picks for Carson Palmer. And despite Palmer throwing more INT’s than TD’s, Hue proceeded to use him in a vertical pass-happy offense, heaving up 275 yards per game (on pace for over 4,400 yards). Hue showed that he wasn’t afraid of throwing the football when he had a QB better than Jason Campbell, Bruce Gradkowski, Terrelle Pryor or Kyle Boller.

#2 The Return of Bratkowski

While Bob Bratkowski’s offense was unimaginative and his play calling was as predictable as the geyser Old Faithful, he did one thing well – developed a vertical passing game with guys like Palmer / Ocho / TJ / Henry. It would be odd to bring back Bratkowski for the purpose of running the ball 50 times a game.

#3 Hue Jackson’s OTHER press conference comments.

Yes, Hue made some comments about needing to be able to run the football. But he said quite a bit about throwing the football also.

... "It could look different. At the end of the day, we’re still going to do everything to take our best players and give them opportunity to be special. We have some very talented players on the outside. 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." (when asked about his offensive changes vs Gruden)

... "I think (Dalton) is a really good football player" (describing what he thought of Dalton)

... "We have a great group....very talented" (comparing the recent WR’s to his first stint in Cincy)

... "You also have to be able to throw it." (describing his offense’s identity)

#4 Hue Jackson’s more recent comments.

Over the past month or so, as Hue Jackson has spent more time with the offense as the Offensive Coordinator, he’s made some comments about his offense.

... "Dalton-Green is the best QB-WR tandem in the NFL"

... "Andy Dalton is on the cusp of something good"

... "We have a very good starting Quarterback"

... "My concern is balance"

... "We’ve got to do whatever we need to win"

... "You have to do both"

... " (Running) is a mindset; it’s not so much a part of the offense"

Hugh_jackson233x315_medium

Everything taken together seems to indicate that Hue’s offense in 2014 is not going to change to one that is going to run a lot more, and abandons the passing game. But rather, will focus on trying to run more effectively - getting more than 3 yards when they rush the ball.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors.

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