Bengals’ running game going nowhere fast

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On paper, the Bengals run game looks formidable. In reality, it’s not.

Cincinnati ranks 23th in rushing yards per game at 88.8 and 28th in yards per attempt at 3.3. Joe Mixon has 52 carries for 136 yards; Giovani Bernard has 18 carries for 89 yards; and Jeremy Hill has 25 carries for 82 yards.

“Obviously we need to do a better job of running the ball,” Bengals center Russell Bodine said, via Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Some of that stuff is consistency, consistency in your fits, consistency of the backs, consistency with everything. Some of the stuff is a little skewed because [Sunday against the Browns] they’ve got an extra guy in the box, and we’re trying to run the clock out. Stats-wise, some of that comes from the situation of the game. That is what it is. But obviously we really need to get 4 yards a carry on offense. We haven’t really done that consistently up until this point.

“That’s our goal, and we need to get to that. We just need to find a way to do it.”

The Bengals have run it 60 times the past two weeks combined but rushed for 1 yard 15 times, zero yards three times and negative yards 11 times, per Owczarski. They gained a combined 196 rushing yards in the two games.

Cincinnati lacks cohesion up front with a rotation at both tackle spots and three different right guards seeing time because of injuries. The Bengals also, of course, have changed offensive play-callers with Bill Lazor taking over the duties since Sept. 22.

“Whether you’re the most successful or you’re the 32nd team in the league, there’s always something to work on; there’s always something to get better at,” right tackle Jake Fisher said.  “When you stop thinking like that, then that’s when you start creeping back, and we can’t have any creep back.”

11 responses to “Bengals’ running game going nowhere fast

  1. It’s the offensive line pure and simple. Mixon is going to be a great running back if he gets a better line. The blame on the running game is purely Paul Alexander.

  2. kcflake says:
    October 4, 2017 at 4:18 pm
    I bet the Bengals wish they had taken Kareem Hunt.
    I think 31 teams wish that they had. That said, if Hunt had to run behind the Bengals O Line, he’s have Mixon-esque stats right now. When you’re constantly having to shed tacklers when you’re 2 yards behind the line of scrimmage, even the best backs will struggle

  3. I dont get why Bernard hasnt gotten much work the last 2-3 years. Almost 5 yards a carry this year, too. I get they’ve had other RB’s to play, but it doesnt seem split in a way that they use him enough

  4. Two words: Paul Alexander. This guy has done a below average job coaching up lineman and implementing his system. Guy has really never coached up talent all the successful lineman recently have been high level draft picks: Whitworth/Steinbach (2nd round), Kevin Zeitler, Willie Anderson, Levi Jones, Andre Smith 1st round. Now we have two high draft picks in the 1st/2nd round Cedric Oguebuehi and Jake Fisher who are beyond terrible. There really is no excuse, this team was playing with house money with Whitworth who was such a blessing to this team and masked the mediocrity Alexander brought. Zietler was a gem as well who was also let go for financial reasons. There is nobody that I can think of below the 2nd round who was above average for this o-line in the Lewis era. Bobby Williams I believe was a 2nd rounder but was a free agent from Philly. Stacy Andrews/Anthony Collins were decent talents in the 4th and 5th round if I’m not mistaken but they faded after a couple of seasons. As long as Alexander is here this team is going to tread water, and if they continue to miss on high round draft picks on the line it really doesn’t matter who you draft to run the ball.

  5. Bengals fans knew the OL was going to be a weakness going into the
    season. Whitworth and Zeitler are not easily replaced. :/

  6. mysterytonite says:
    October 4, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Two words: Paul Alexander.

    I’m guessing you know this, but Paul Alexander is one of the highest regarded OL coaches in the NFL. He simply has inferior talent this time. Now if it was his choice to pick Fisher (who is built like a Tight End and can’t stop the bull rush) and Ogbuehi (who surely looks like a bust and should be moved to a guard spot as a last ditch effort to see if he has any value at all), then I blame him. Otherwise I blame Marvin or Mike or whoever decided they had to let Whit walk so they could give Ogbuehi more playing time.

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