Cedric Benson’s first preseason game as a member of the Packers will come against a familiar opponent.
The Packers will travel to Cincinnati to face the Bengals on Thursday in the stadium Benson called home for four seasons. Benson insists he has no hard feelings for the team, although he did seem to chafe at his role last season as the team slowly but surely moved away from an offense predicated on Benson’s running. Perhaps that’s why Benson is so excited about the chance to take on his old mates.
“It’s going to be fun, to say the least. It’ll be good just to go against that defense,” Benson said, via Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I’ve seen all those guys coming in, I’ve seen them work together, so it’ll be fun to put a licking on them.”
Putting a licking on the Bengals would do more than give Benson a chance to take out any residual bad feelings from the end of his Bengals tenure. It would also help him stake a claim to a lead role in the Packers backfield this season.
As Tom Siverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel points out, the Packers are featuring more one-back looks this season and using fullbacks less often. It’s a look Benson is familiar with and one that also fits what Alex Green did while he was in college, although the rationale for the move isn’t solely because of the running backs on the roster. Using one back sets will make it harder for teams to stop the run while both of their safeties are playing back to protect against the pass.
If Benson puts a licking on the Bengals Thursday, there’s a pretty good chance he’ll be getting chances to deliver more of them once the regular season rolls around.