Since the days of Rudi Johnson and Chris "two carry" Perry, and Cedric Benson and Bernard Scott after them, the Bengals have always wanted to be an offense that carries a two-headed running back attack. The dream usually waned every year, thanks in part to the smaller scat-back usually facing an injury or, at the very least, being used incorrectly.
Cincinnati used two second-round selections over the last two years to rebuild their running back roster. The Bengals grabbed Giovani Bernard in 2013 and complimented him with Jeremy Hill -- this year's top rushing rookie in the NFL. Bernard, despite missing three games, has 142 carries compared to Hill, who leads the team with 152 attempts. Hill also leads Cincinnati with six rushing touchdowns with Bernard falling behind at five -- though none since Week 8.
Like a hammer and a nail, sock and shoes, these two go together like the rhythm and blues.
That's where the comparison ends. Hill, with a team-leading 729 yards, is averaging 4.8 yards/rush, nearly a full yard better than Bernard, who hasn't surpassed 50 yards rushing since his 137-yard effort against the Carolina Panthers. Hill, on the other hand, has two 150-yard rushing games in his past six (within the games that Bernard missed) and has a yard/rush average of 4.6 in five of those games.
Regardless, this is the two-back system that Cincinnati has always wanted.
Per ESPN's Coley Harvey:
Angered with the way his backfield rotation has gone this season, offensive coordinator Hue Jackson hinted Wednesday at a possible shake-up coming to the group that might include going away from the two-back system he and others have lauded since the offseason.
Instead, he appears to favor implementing a one-back scheme.
"That's what I'm kind of used to," Jackson said. "I'm used to having one guy kind of dominate some carries because, in order for backs to be really good, they've got to get lathered up to play. You've got to get a feel for the game.
"We have two capable guys and they're different guys, and we'll let it play itself out, but we have a pretty good idea which way we're headed."