Jay Gruden plans a running back-by-committee offense in Cincinnati


Bengals running back Cedric Benson has made no secret that he’s looking forward to leaving Cincinnati in free agency, and offensive coordinator Jay Gruden says the Bengals will be just fine without Benson.

Gruden told Bengals.com he’s planning a running back-by-committee offense.

It’s not a bad way to go. Keep guys fresh. They play longer, they’re involved,” Gruden said. “If something happens to one, you know you’ve got a guy that can come in there and be productive. Where you’re not relying heavily on one guy and if something happens to him, you’re like, ‘Oh God, this guy doesn’t have many reps.’ I think it’s important to have guys touch the ball, I believe, as a committee.”

With Benson leaving, the Bengals’ committee is likely to include Bernard Scott, Brian Leonard and Cedric Peerman, and the Bengals have said they’d like to draft a running back. But the committee won’t include Benson, who led the team with 273 carries for 1,067 yards and six touchdowns last season.

34 responses to “Jay Gruden plans a running back-by-committee offense in Cincinnati

  1. Almost every team in the NFL already does that. But being a Gruden he probably feels it’s new and innovative.

  2. Its hard to find one back who can run, catch, and block on passing downs. Even with AP, the Vikings missed Chester Taylor.

  3. It’s a good idea in theory if you have two good running backs. But if you only have one, the cowbell approach is the way to go.
    But what if you’re like Cinncinnati and have zero good running backs?

  4. Good news is this means that all the RB’s have a year of experience in the system. Out of the 3 of them Peerman is probably the best “all around” back . Scott is seriously TINY but I can imagine its a nightmare for LB’s to track him thru the wash. Leonard has always managed to make the tough catch or jump a DB so as a member of the Bengal Nation Im pleased to see Coach Gruden saying he’s gonna use all the bullets he has.

  5. .

    Running backs are a weird lot. Outside of the top tier who perform consistently, there seems to be a glut of backs who can either give you 137 yards or 37 yards. Plus you never know when you’re going to get which. Better to have more options with backs possessing different skills.


  6. Cedric Benson just didn’t seem to break any runs open this past season. Every time there was contact, he’d go down.

    He’ll bounce around as a number 2 until his career ends. The funny thing is that if he plays like he did last year, he’ll actually be a good spell back…he just doesn’t have that “lead a team” talent.

    Cedric Benson & Peyton Hillis are going to make 2 teams who need a back up pretty happy.

  7. joetoronto says:
    Feb 28, 2012 7:05 AM
    When you have 3 RB’s, you really don’t have any.
    The majority of NFL teams utilize multiple RBs. New England and New Orleans have done pretty well considering that, according to you, they don’t really have any RBs.

  8. It’s obvious that some of the people leaving comments on this site and this story are smarter when they keep their mouth shut ( joetoronto & jenniferxxx ) and that they don’t watch any football outside of watching someone play madden. Do the rest of us a favor be smart and keep your mouth shut

  9. It’s the right thing to do. You can count on one had the number of NFL teams that have one back who can carry the load with versatility and consistent production.

  10. joetoronto says:Feb 28, 2012 7:05 AM

    When you have 3 RB’s, you really don’t have any.


    This literally makes no sense.

  11. The whole league has been slowly going this route. There will never bee another Peyton, Brown, Dorsett, Campbell, ect, HOF franchise type RB again. Sad to see. I’d like to see what Emmitt Smith would have said if Jimmy Johnson told him to sit on the bench and get fresh.

  12. Sign Payton Hillis and draft LaMichael James and we we will be alright.
    Pound it with Hillis then when the LBs and DBs are all tired and beaten up from Hillis, let them try to chase down James.

  13. It makes no sense when you’re oblivious.

    Backups are great and needed, but one of them should be the man.

    3 backups equal zero studs.

  14. If running backs are so “easy to find” why the need to go Running Back by committee cause you don’t have one.

    Draft a #1 RB. Or are they not really that easy to find.

  15. Trent Richardson to Cincy would be the perfect marriage of Value and Need.

    AJ Green + Trent Richardson would be a nasty combination that would give D coordinators fits for years.

  16. Well that’s the plan today … unless Trent Richardson falls to them in the 1st round … then plans have a way of changing.

  17. And I’m looking forward for Benson to get nothing in free agency!!!

    Thanks for doing NOTHING in Chicago, jerk!!!!!!

  18. Benson was tied for 7th in the entire NFL in rushing attempts and still that’s not enough? The Bengals basically saved his career when nobody wanted anything to do with him and for the last 2 years he’s done nothing but grouse about his perceived lack of carries. Those carries have been less effective as time has passed as well.

    Does he really think somebody out there is going to give him 300-350 carries?!?


  19. I really don’t believe it is so much “Benson is leaving” as much as it is “Cincinnati doesn’t want him back”. They will draft young and not worry every week about whether or not he might punch someone in the face at a bar.

  20. theroc5156 said it best: “I just wish we had someone to block for our running back by committee.”

    The running game is going to suck until we have an O-line that can actually run block. Bring in Nicks and grab an OG in the first day of the draft.

  21. Benson was on his best behaviour when he got here in 2008. By 2010, we got to see what Bears fans were talking about. All Benson has done the last 2 years is sulk about his carries and contract. He would whine about “only” getting 20 carries after the TEAM won the game! He publicly called out coaches several times too. Average back with a diva attitude. Glad Gruden doesn’t like Benson, or want him back.

  22. Pretty obvious smokescreen from Gruden. Don’t try so hard, Jay. If Richardson’s there at 21, he’s a Bengal. If not, then I’d bet the kid out of Miami, Lamar Miller, will be in stripes come round 2 or 3.

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