Bengals making Rex Burkhead a receiver-running back hybrid

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In his first two NFL seasons, Bengals running back Rex Burkhead rarely got the ball, with just 16 total touches. This year, the Bengals plan to change that.

Although Burkhead remains third on the running back depth chart behind Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard, the Bengals like Burkhead’s ability enough that they’re going to find ways to get the ball in his hands. That means playing him about half the time at running back and half the time at wide receiver. Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson says it’s all about getting the best players on the field.

“He’s very talented,” Jackson said of Burkhead, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “You have a talented player on your team you see if you can find a way to get him involved. He can do a little bit of everything. He can run the ball, too. He can catch, protect. He’s one of the better players on our team so we will see what we can do with him.”

Burkhead lined up at wide receiver in the Bengals’ playoff loss to the Colts and had his best game of the season, catching three passes for 34 yards and also picking up 23 yards on his only run of the game. Now Burkhead is learning to play receiver regularly.

“When you’re coming out of the backfield you’re usually going against a linebacker and you’re usually going against straight-up man. Or it’s a simple zone you can read off of,” Burkhead said. “Now you’ve got cover-2, quarters, cloud coverages, and other things you have to learn about. And you’re running against nickel, dimes with corners and safeties. So it’s new, especially when I’m running some routes I’ve never run before.”

If Burkhead can learn to run those routes, he can play a big role in the Bengals’ offense — something he hasn’t done in his first two seasons.

12 responses to “Bengals making Rex Burkhead a receiver-running back hybrid

  1. More proof for the uninformed, uneducated NFL fan that the Cincinnati Bengals are thin in the receiving corps.

    What is sad is using a running back (Rex Burkhead) as your #2 wr option in a playoff game (2014) due to youor team’s thinness at wide receiver (due to injuries and average to poor drafting at wr).

    Sad.

  2. doctorrustbelt says:
    Jun 3, 2015 12:44 PM
    More proof for the uninformed, uneducated NFL fan that the Cincinnati Bengals are thin in the receiving corps.

    What is sad is using a running back (Rex Burkhead) as your #2 wr option in a playoff game (2014) due to youor team’s thinness at wide receiver (due to injuries and average to poor drafting at wr).

    Sad.

    Thing is, if the Bengals would have beat the Colts, you would have been on here saying.

    WITHOUT So & So @WR
    WITHOUT So & So @LB
    So on and so forth. Just like you did during the season.

    Did you expect the Bengals to ignore the fact that their
    3 top Tackles were FA’s after 2015? Did you expect them to ignore that they only had 2 TE’s signed to the roster
    in Tyler Eifert and Kevin Brock?

    Every team has injuries. Some more than others. We got bit by in “injury” bug at a bad time. Hell, the Colts were starting their 11th different OL Combo but you didn’t mention the fact we couldn’t touch Andrew Luck!

  3. I liked what Burkhead showed last year – versatile and a knack for making clutch plays (like Brian Leonard before him).

  4. Also… thank you for admitting that the Cincinnati Bengals are thin at tight end, too.

  5. More proof of a uniformed,uneducated football fan is not realizing that every team that loses it`s 2 starting WR (Green & M.Jones) & their top 2 TE`s (Eifert & Gresham) is going to look thin a receiver.
    You can only plan for so many injuries at a position.
    AJ.Green,M.Jones,M.Sanu,J.Wright,M.Alford and D.Moore is a above average group of receivers.
    When you lose the top 2 players at any position group on any team it starts looking pretty thin.

  6. The thumbs down count must be lurking Packer trolls then.

    1buckeye76 says:
    Jun 3, 2015 12:50 PM
    @anewshole – Bengal fans show nothing but respect for Zimmer.

  7. Hey Rustbelt.

    I guess more/better WR depth would have been able
    to stop Boom Herron (Colts 3rd string RB) from averaging
    5 yards a carry and leading the Colts in receptions with 10 in the playoff game right?

    Get real man. As for the TE position. They addressed it in
    the draft.

    No team has all-pro caliber talent sitting on the bench
    waiting for an injury to happen. Sheesh

  8. always liked Burkhead and if they can work all 3 backs in and out of game they can keep all fresh and wear down defenses

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