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Clayton: Rudi looks awesome

In three seasons (2004-2006), Rudi Johnson averaged 1,407 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns. Johnson's 5,742 yards rushing ranks third in Bengals history and his 1,441 rushing attempts ranks second behind Corey Dillon's 1,865 attempts. Johnson broke the record for most rushing yards in a single season, twice. He's one of three players that's broken the 200-yard barrior in a single game. Rudi's 48 rushing touchdowns is second in franchise history; behind Pete Johnson's 64. In 18 games, Rudi rushed for 100 yards or more (second in franchise history behind Corey Dillon's 28). In five games in 2006 and 2004, Rudi rushed for 100 yards five times -- tied for the most with Ickey Woods, James Brooks, Harold Green and Corey Dillon (three times). Tied with Stan Fritts, Rudi Johnson's six consecutive games with at least one touchdown ranks second most in franchise history.

After 2005, Rudi decided to cut his weight, aiming to increase his quickness and to turn the edges. Instead, the reduced weight lowered his leg strength and hurt his power-rushing. His 3.8 (2006) and 2.9 (2007) yards per attempt were evident of that. Even Bengals scout Jim Lippincott said that Rudi Johnson's revised diet degraded his leg power and by 2007, his slimmer body lacked the strength to be the power-back. In fact, the power back missed five games and was listed on nearly every injury report with a bad hamstring. A season-long hamstring for a running back is, you know, kind of a bad thing. It's kind of like a self-proclaimed writer with two broken fingers; it's inevitable that production goes down.

Then voluntary and mandatory camp came around. Rudi Johnson was noted as having solidified his body back to the "old power back", even impressing dudes like John Clayton.

To be honest with you, I'm pumped with a rebuilt Rudi. In fact, I'm more pumped with a rebuilt Rudi than I am concerned bitching about Johnson's past performances. It's not like he's going anywhere (Kenny Irons is hurt, Chris Perry is "87.5% healthy" and Kenny Watson can't do it himself) and when Rudi was top-notch, this team had a top-notch offense.

Anyway, if this team's defense can't perform, and if the Bengals can't block for Rudi Johnson and the rushing game, it's not like the team's rushing unit will be soley responsible for another boring average 8-8 season, is it?