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Benson, Bengals could be headed for a breakup

Cedric Benson AP

After the Bears bailed on tailback Cedric Benson following a series of run-ins with the law, the Bengals didn’t blink.  (They rarely do.)

Benson was given safe harbor in Cincinnati, and he returned the favor with a string of productive seasons.  Along the way, he signed two new contracts with the team.

Now, with his most recent one-year deal due to expire, it sounds like the two sides are ready to move on.

Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden explained to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer that the plan for 2011 was to share touches between Benson and Bernard Scott.  Unfortunately, Cedric didn’t completely buy in.

“The more you give it to Bernard the more you’ve got Cedric over there scratching his head and not real happy,” said Gruden, who signed a three-year extension and turned down an interview in Jacksonville for the head-coaching job.  “Really, to me, on a good football team nobody should worry about who’s scoring or who’s getting the ball so long as the team is moving.”

The problem is that the Benson-Scott combo platter didn’t work as well as it could have, with a team average of 3.9 yards per attempt.  “As many times as we ran it and as [few] big plays we had, it’s a major area to try to improve on,” Gruden said.

Benson acknowledged he prefers to be the workhorse.  “I wasn’t a big fan of it,” Benson told Reedy.  “Granted I don’t make those decisions or calls and I have to find a way to make it work.  It was something they started soon after the first game.  There was a vision where they saw the offense going.  I may not like it or agree with it but I’ll make it work if given the opportunity.”

The question is whether he’ll get the opportunity, in Cincinnati or elsewhere.  With two first-round picks, the Bengals could try to snag a tailback to combine with their young quarterback and receiver, creating a new-age set of Cowboys/Colts-style triplets.  Or the Bengals could sign a veteran like Michael Bush.

Or they could continue to employ Benson for a relatively reasonable salary, since no one has shown strong interest in him when he has hit the market in the past.  The fact that he missed a game this season due to a suspension under the personal-conduct policy won’t make him any more attractive.

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41 Responses to “Benson, Bengals could be headed for a breakup”
  1. flavordave says: Jan 15, 2012 8:20 AM

    Benson is good at moving a pile, and at the goal line, not breaking a run outside. He needs to understand that his success will only come from a committee style offense.

  2. mac3333 says: Jan 15, 2012 8:33 AM

    The Bengals are done with Cedric. His best days, if he ever had any are long behind him.

    He’s a malcontent who thinks he should get 30 carries a game. And Marvin would be happy to oblige if he didn’t run right into the line and fall down. Or if he EVER broke a run longer than 20 yards.

    The guy has no vision, no cutback ability, no breakaway speed. He’s not even a 1 cut and go back. He’s a run into the line of scrimmage and fall down kinda chump.

    Bengals need to trade up for Richardson to create the 3 headed monster of Dalton, Green & Richardson. (Throw in Gresham & Shipley for good measure)

  3. 3yardsndust says: Jan 15, 2012 8:48 AM

    Just because Benson would be inexpensive to re-sign does not make him a good sign. Bad locker room mojo is not worth it for a young team that is heading in the right direction, and decent young running backs are easy to get.

  4. saintsfan1111 says: Jan 15, 2012 8:49 AM

    Sharing carries prolongs the career. Ask every work horse that ran out of gas at 30. Michael Turner being the latest example.

  5. jpb12 says: Jan 15, 2012 8:54 AM

    Or they could draft a solid RB in the 3rd or 4th round like all the other good teams do…

  6. Patriot42 says: Jan 15, 2012 8:55 AM

    The NFL is all about me for many of the RB’s and receivers. The teams record is secondary and if those selfish players are unable to play for whatever reason they have their feeling hurt. What a bunch of worthless trash.

  7. how887 says: Jan 15, 2012 8:55 AM

    As bad as the Bengals running game was in 2011, Benson outplayed Scott. Scott is a career back up if that. Bush is a better fit than all and will get more touches than Scott without the suspensions.

  8. wryly1 says: Jan 15, 2012 8:57 AM

    When it finally shakes out, I wouldn’t be surprised if Benson does stick with the Bengals. Given his age, mileage and baggage, nobody else is going to make a play that that will pay him big bucks to be the featured RB.

  9. 1buckeye76 says: Jan 15, 2012 9:03 AM

    After watching all of the player interviews this year on Bengals.com, Cedric was the only guy who was talking about his role, and not the team. You would have thought that if he wanted to be the “bell cow” he would have gotten it done on the field and made it a harder decision for the coaches, as it was he just pouted and kept getting 2.5 yards per carry. We got rid of most of our “me” guys last year and it worked really well. May as well get rid of the rest of them. Bye Cedric – thanks for a few good years.

  10. phillyphever says: Jan 15, 2012 9:06 AM

    I got a feeling they’re gonna use their first round pick on the RB in the draft (Oakland’s pick better be used on a CB to pair up with Hall or Barron).

  11. FinFan68 says: Jan 15, 2012 9:09 AM

    “Really, to me, on a good football team nobody should worry about who’s scoring or who’s getting the ball so long as the team is moving.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I think that is the best philosophy for a good team. Unfortunately, there are a bunch of players who would rather jeopardize a win for the sake of their own personal stats. That is part selfish attitude, part desire to be talked about and part contract incentive issues. Regardless of the cause, the selfishness and lack of a “team” attitude exhibited by many players is sad. I would much rather root for a bunch of average to good players that work as a team than watch a bunch of coddled “stars” trying to stand out above everyone for the sake of fame.

  12. blizzard01 says: Jan 15, 2012 9:14 AM

    And the Big Easy wakes up a loser.
    So glad.

  13. slickwilliam says: Jan 15, 2012 9:20 AM

    Benson’s time in Cincinnati is up. We need a new running back to go with this selfless offense we are building

  14. dennyg2 says: Jan 15, 2012 9:21 AM

    As a Bengal fan, Benson was steady but nothing better than average. Bengals must improve on their running game to get to the next level, therefore, the Benson era is officially over…

  15. jc1958cool says: Jan 15, 2012 9:23 AM

    average player with an attitude! say bye

  16. Tom G says: Jan 15, 2012 9:26 AM

    Let him walk.Hes just another piece of the old Bungles and their police blotter.Maybe trade him to the Raiders for more first round picks.Oh wait,Hue Jackson isn’t there anymore.

  17. gmen1987 says: Jan 15, 2012 9:31 AM

    Cedric Benson has $1 million dollar talent attached to a 1 cent brain.

    That being said, some team will pick him up if the Bengals cutting him.

  18. wadecounty93 says: Jan 15, 2012 9:57 AM

    Its hard to see him starting on a different team next year. Im sure he will find somewhere to go as a backup though. this guy just gets himself in to much trouble. But if the Bengals drafted Trent Richardson in the 1st round, the bengals would have some nice talent on offense with Dalton, Green, and Richardson!!

  19. raysfan1 says: Jan 15, 2012 9:59 AM

    Beyond time for him to realize that his off the field issues are the only thing most fans know about him, to be grateful any team is willing to employ him at this point, and to shut up and color.

  20. gobungles says: Jan 15, 2012 10:00 AM

    30 year old malcontent running back with multiple off-field issues. Sounds due for the Bengals to give him a pay raise.

  21. r66x says: Jan 15, 2012 10:06 AM

    Time for Bengals to move on. Cedric’s best years are behind him.

  22. football2011 says: Jan 15, 2012 10:22 AM

    I think Beheading Cedric Benson is a little extreme on the part of the Bengals LOL

  23. 1historian says: Jan 15, 2012 10:27 AM

    This is the time for the bungles to become the Bengals.

    Release Benson now and keep drafting intelligently.

  24. Derty Ernie says: Jan 15, 2012 10:29 AM

    Benson is another of those ‘my way or the highway’ kind of players. They expect to be on the stage and the featured star running back.
    He will quit on you (Bears) if he doesn’t get his way.

    Bengals will dump him if the plan is to have rotating backs knowing he doesn’t care about that and thus won’t give a complete effort.

  25. vincentbojackson says: Jan 15, 2012 10:30 AM

    As bad as Benson looked the last few games the Bengals would be wise to move on.

    If he’s not going to produce in a contract year what’s he going to do when he’s under contract.

  26. samoanjungle says: Jan 15, 2012 10:38 AM

    I think Benson handled things well. We didn’t hear any complaints and he always seemed to be rooting for Scott. He was the first on the sideline to congratulate Scott on his 25 yard TD run a couple weeks ago.
    I wouldn’t blame Benson for the running game failing. The Guards weren’t getting much push this year and they never seemed to make it to a LB.

  27. vincentbojackson says: Jan 15, 2012 10:42 AM

    Bengal fans have been defending attacks on this guy’s character since the day he signed. Now that it appears he’s gone they’re all piling on. Classic Bengal fan. They all loved Carson, Ocho and Housh too until they left. Then they realized all three we’re a-holes.

  28. cornersportsnet says: Jan 15, 2012 10:46 AM

    For one its normal behavior if your the man all your life and now they want to change everything and your still at the top of his game.He will adjust or get out thats the nature of the beast,but hes been a stud for cincy

  29. themanchine says: Jan 15, 2012 10:53 AM

    Dallas.

  30. gb4mn0 says: Jan 15, 2012 10:54 AM

    If Peterson doesn’t make it back by the start of the regular season then Benson will find himself in MN. He’s a punk and presents an opportunity for the queens to add to their league leading player arrest record………..he’s a perfect fit.

  31. chadinkc30 says: Jan 15, 2012 10:55 AM

    Ben gals fans, did you see Dalton play in the playoffs? Id think about maybe finding some competition for him as well, or you could be looking like the Jets trying to make Sanchez into a good qb for 4 years. Sorry jets fans, had to use him as example

  32. jcioffi1485 says: Jan 15, 2012 10:57 AM

    Benson needs to go. His predictable 2 yard runs are infuriating and seeing him get stopped on third and one over and over is simply unacceptable. He’s also shown a propensity to put the ball on the ground. This guy is heartbeat away from being a bad dude in the locker room. He’s from the gang of four that was killing the team. Sending packing and wish him well in his future endeavors.

  33. tatum064 says: Jan 15, 2012 11:11 AM

    He’ll move on, and likely fade from the landscape, unless he lands with the Pats and they find some role for him…maybe he goes to Miami to back up Reggie Bush if Zimmer gets hired.

  34. stampnhawk says: Jan 15, 2012 11:38 AM

    Hue Jackson would’ve traded a second rounder for him tomorrow if Hue was only given the control like he wanted.

  35. londonbengal says: Jan 15, 2012 11:40 AM

    Benson could be the best back in the history of the game; but it means squat if he’s in jail or suspended.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if he got arrested in some Texas bar this off-season; he’s that type of guy.

    There’s no ‘break-up’ between the Bengals and Benson; his contract is done, it’s over; and its time for both parties to move on.

  36. lewisisthebestsincepb says: Jan 15, 2012 12:26 PM

    In all fairness, Benson hasn’t been the same since the Bengals lost the run blocking tandem of TE Reggie Kelly and FB Jeremy Johnson.

    On the bright side, Andre Smith seems to be coming around and Jermaine Gresham is a beast..if we could add a talented blocking FB to that mix the running game could really take off .

  37. johnnyb1976 says: Jan 15, 2012 12:37 PM

    Not defending Ced here but the O-line sucked this season with that being said Ced didnt have the burst B-Scott does but B-Scott isn’t the answer either… Maybe the answer is guard play hmmmm.

  38. chocopoppy says: Jan 15, 2012 1:16 PM

    Thanks for the carries, Ced. Buh bye now.

    As for drafting a RB high, why do this? Look at the model of other successful teams. CIN would be better off with 2-3 guys sharing load and not spending a 1st rounder on any of them.

  39. voyager6 says: Jan 15, 2012 5:51 PM

    The fact is that with the current Bengals O-line no RB will succeed consistently, be it Benson, Scott, Peerman, or a future Richardson run-a-like. The two Guards must be upgraded in the off season. It is priority #1.

    Yet Marvin kept trying to run the ball up the gut, knowing that the talent in the line wasn’t there. Notice as the season went on, Marvin went to the Bratkiowski (run-run-pass-punt) play calling more and more and we saw little or nothing of the vaunted West Coast Offense that was shown early in the season.

    DB is off-season priority #2 as you can’t expect Hall to recover from an Achillies injury. Hall was slow to start with, with the injury, any loss of speed will make him a non-factor and he is too small and shy of hitting to be moved to Safety.

  40. 1fast84 says: Jan 15, 2012 11:42 PM

    Please don’t use either of the first round picks on a RB unless Richarson is available at pic 21. We need a cb first then a safety or og!

  41. crip2nite says: Jan 17, 2012 5:46 PM

    Agreed Secondary is the Biggest priority!

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