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Giovani Bernard tops list of satellite backs

Giovani Bernard is getting recognized for his talents on the field. It is not the normal running back rankings he leads, it is the special ability to create open space that has people taking notice.

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When someone talks about a satellite back in the NFL, they are referencing the running backs who do their best work in space. Players like Giovani Bernard, who have the ability to not only run  between the tackles, but excel in open areas and make people miss. If you want an example, take a look at how Bernard left Jason Verrett in the dust on Sunday.

As Bengals fans, we know this is one of the most exciting parts of Bernard's game. Now, the national media is taking notice.

Chris Wesseling wrote today on about the top satellite backs in the league and Giovani Bernard leads this group.

1. Giovani Bernard, Bengals - Carlos Hyde was unstoppable in Week 1. Matt Jones and Adrian Peterson were impressive in Week 2. No back has put together a better two-game start than Bernard, however. Per Pro Football Focus, Bernard is leading all runners in yards after contact per attempt and is second in "Elusive Rating." That's not even counting his receiving ability, which is his speciality. Andy Dalton has an embarrassment of riches on offense.

Bernard has accounted for 227 yards from scrimmage for the Bengals and is running at an average of 6.6 yards per carry so far this season. These are very impressive stats that would be a welcome addition to any NFL team. Yet, he is still listed as the backup on the Bengals' depth chart. Not so much as a knock on his ability, but how good the Bengals know Jeremy Hill can be. The beauty of this is the Bengals have the ability to rely on the backup in case the starter struggles like we witnessed last Sunday.

Bernard leads a list of top names when it comes to the "shifty running back" club. Others mentioned were:

  • Darren Sproles
  • Ameer Abdullah
  • C.J. Spiller
  • Dion Lewis
  • Danny Woodhead
  • Lance Dunbar
  • Shane Vereen
  • Reggie Bush
  • David Johnson
  • Devonta Freeman
  • Denard Robinson
  • Dexter McCluster
  • Duke Johnson
  • Charles Sims

It will be interesting to see how the Bengals offense looks on Sunday. Will Jeremy Hill gain his starting position back or will Bernard carry the load again this week? I want to have confidence in both backs and this creates a great mismatch for opposing defenses.