Run the football. That is Marvin Lewis' and Hue Jackson's mantra for the Cincinnati Bengals offense this year. Give them credit for sticking to their guns too, as the team made moves to solidify their offensive line and running back stable. Seemingly beginning to get lost in the shuffle is sixth-year veteran, Cedric Peerman.
All Peerman has done since becoming a Bengal back in 2010 is everything the coaches have asked of him--some of the time it's dirty work on special teams. He has had a couple of highlight-reel hits as a gunner and has a knack for racking up big runs on fake punt plays. In short, Peerman is the type of player that most don't appreciate until they aren't on the roster anymore.
No.30 has stuck around as the third or fourth back on the team, but has only had one year that he contributed on offense in any noticeable fashion. In 2012, Peerman was pressed into action because of injuries and had a nice three-game stretch against the Giants, Chiefs and Raiders. In those games, he had 22 carries for 157 yards (7.1 YPC) and a receiving touchdown. Not too shabby, though it didn't last long and Peerman was back to his primary duty of special teams.
He's at a crossroads this season with the club, though. For two straight years the Bengals have drafted running backs in the second round, making them roster locks. Incumbent starter BenJarvus Green-Ellis is in a battle of his own to make the team, as both he and Peerman also have Rex Burkhead and James Wilder, Jr. nipping at their heels.
EXP: 6th season
How he makes the roster: Special teams, special teams and more special teams. It's his forte and the team appears to be needing him after late-season slip-ups on returns that have also seemed to bleed into this preseason. Even so, this may not be enough for Peerman to end up on the final 53-man roster. The coaching staff dedicated the preseason opener against the Chiefs to seeing what they have in the new(er), young backs. Those youngsters looking to take Peerman's place didn't look bad, either.
How we see it playing out: You have to figure that Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill are locks. The Bengals usually keep four backs on the roster, so that leaves two spots from there, for what seems like four guys: Peerman, Burkhead, Green-Ellis and Wilder. Marvin Lewis loves his special teams guys, so maybe that is how Peerman sticks. Still, you have to figure that Burkhead is/was a Jackson guy and the organization loves The Law Firm's professional approach and locker room presence. Which two win the spots?
Strengths: Special teams captain, who lays the thunder on punt coverages. A great player to have on a team, who puts his head down and does what you ask. Decent open field speed, though more of a one-cut runner. Most of his offensive plays have gone for huge yardage. High-quality player off the field as well.
Weaknesses: Not a lot of wiggle--usually needs big holes opened up for his big plays. Not much offensive statistical production for his time with the club and doesn't have a NFL starter skill set.