It was highly unlikely the Cincinnati Bengals were going to re-sign running back Cedric Benson anyway, but his comments last night on Sirius Radio likely sealed the deal. Benson was critical of offensive coordinator Jay Gruden's scheme, saying the team had no "identity."
"We had a chance to establish an identity and we kind of got in our rhythm at times and there were times that were tough, you can look at the statistics. We didn’t stick on what the offense was built on. When we had Carson and Chad we kept a strong identity in the run game and we kind of got away from it and didn’t let that part of the offense grow and bit the bullet on it a little bit."
I'll take a wild guess here and venture that Benson feels the Bengals' "identity" was established when he was getting the ball and that the disruption in "rhythm" had much to do with Bernard Scott's playing time.
First, who in their right mind would think that the Bengals had any kind of "identity" in 2010? With the drama surrounding Carson Palmer, Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens, not to mention Benson, that kind of "identity" is known as schizophrenia in mental health circles. The 2010 edition of the Cincinnati offense had more personalities than Sybil.
Second, if Benson wants to fault Jay Gruden, that's his prerogative, but it shows a lack of understanding on his part. Benson is a between the tackles runner. That means he's running a lot behind guards. In the Bengals case this season, that meant running a lot behind Nate Livings and Mike McGlynn. If Benson wonders why his statistics were down, he should look more at the wide bodies that played in front of him who too often couldn't even hold their position, much less provide any kind of push in the running game.
Gruden was smart in getting Bernard Scott more touches. If anything, he may have warranted more with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and excel on the edge.
Benson's one-dimensional style will be the biggest reason he won't be a Bengal next season. His mouth just confirmed that decision.
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