Monday morning, Bengals running back DeDe Dorsey was carted off the field. Initial reports suggest that the groin injury is serious; he left facilities on crutches and Geoff Hobson writes that (speculation) it could be three months until he's healed.
Also, I have to admit, I was somewhat surprised to read in the past week (via Chick Ludwig) that Chris Perry is only 80% healthy; even though coaches raved about his work during OTAs. There's some momentum with the idea that we could actually see Kenny Irons before the regular season is over (perhaps too optimistic). Even though he's not working out recovering from a nasty knee injury, he's also not written off. No doubt, he'll be on the PUP to start the season (and Dorsey too if his groin has the slightest set back based on Hobson's speculative timeline), which leaves the team with Rudi Johnson, Kenny Watson and an 80% healthy Chris Perry (though there's still a few months away for him to reach that arbitrary 100%). There's several undrafted college free agents on the roster that could have an impact.
The more we think about it, the more we realize that the Bengals won't over-react (or reach) for an available free agent running back. For one, there's plenty of time for recover. For two, it's very likely the Bengals could have too many backs if everyone returns after PUP (that is if they are listed in the first place or not through on IR).
I still think, for the most part, they're fine. Dorsey wasn't expected to take a large percentage of snaps -- likely a third down back. Rudi Johnson is, from all reports, as "back" to his old form as he can be. Coaches and players are pumped at his revitalization (and hunger). Kenny Watson is a serviceable backup to Rudi and Chris Perry, I think, is the team's best option on third down.
In one way, we're fine right now (plenty of time to heal those injured). In another way, and we've discussed this off-season, running back could be two completely different scenarios. It could either be really good, or a complete disaster.