You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Green-Ellis hoping to kickstart run game against former team

The last time Cincinnati played New England was in 2010, before nearly three-fourths of the players on the current Bengals roster had joined the team.

Two of those players, running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis and kick/punt returner Brandon Tate, were Patriots at the time, so Sunday’s game at Paul Brown Stadium will be their first chance to go against their former team.

“It’s just another team we have to prepare for,” Green-Ellis said. “The only difference is I know some of the guys and they know me as well. I’m good friends with 10-20 guys over there. We still talk from time to time, holidays. It’s not just a business relationship, we had a personal relationship. But Sunday is business.”

Thus far in 2013, business has not been good for Green-Ellis, who is averaging 2.7 yards per carry and has been stopped on a few key short-yardage plays, including the fourth-and-1 on the Cleveland 7 last week.

But he’s not alone. The entire running game has struggled, averaging 83.8 yards per game, which ranks 22nd in the NFL.

The running attack got off to a slow start in 2012 as well before finding a rhythm in the second half of the regular season and guiding the Bengals to a 7-1 record and a wild-card berth.

But even with all 11 starters back on offense and a new, dynamic weapon in rookie running back Giovani Bernard, the production has plummeted. Bernard is averaging 4.6 yards per rush, but he’s being handed the ball only eight times per game.

“We probably have to stick with it a little more,” offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said. “We haven’t done a very good job of popping any big ones, haven’t gotten the big 9-, 10-, 12-, 15-yard runs, and that’s something we’ve got to try to grow to.”

The inability to run the ball effectively has had ripple effects through the offense as opponents are able to move more defenders out of the box and into coverage.

Left tackle Andrew Whitworth said no one’s confidence has been shaken by the slow start, and that a little patience will go a long way in rectifying the issue.

“Houston’s a great example,” Whitworth said. “They run it every week. They might gain three yards a play for two quarters, then they hit a quarter where they catch a 19-, a 20-, a 30- or a 40-yard run and they all of a sudden take the game over.

“The one thing about the run game is the only way to stop it once a team gets rolling is to adjust,” he continued. “And if you have to adjust, most times it means coverage-wise and you lose the good coverages you like to be in. That’s when receivers start to get open.”

New England will bring the league’s 11th-ranked run defense to town Sunday, but the Patriots will be without a big reason for that success after perennial Pro Bowl defensive tackle Vince Wilfork was placed on season-ending injured reserve on Thursday with an Achilles injury.

“Obviously they’re going to miss Vince, his leadership on and off the field, but from a football standpoint they have guys that are ready to go,” Green-Ellis said. “The guys that play behind him are doing a good job, as you can see from last week. When Vince went down, they came in the game and did a good job. So we’ll have our hands full with whoever is in there.”

The goal moving forward is to get opposing teams to say the same thing about the Bengals by getting both Green-Ellis and Bernard rolling on a more consistent basis.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Thames cracks two home runs as Brewers beat Reds
Thames cracks two home runs as Brewers beat Reds

Eric Thames homered twice to raise his major league-leading total to 10, Hernan Perez added a three-run shot, Matt Garza pitched for the first time this season and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Cincinnati Reds 11-7 on Monday night. The left-handed batting Thames got just enough muscle on an 0-2 pitch from Amir Garrett (2-2) to slice an opposite-field...
H.S. Results for 4/24: Fairborn baseball bests ‘Creek at Fifth-Third

H.S. Results for 4/24: Fairborn baseball bests Beavercreek at Fifth-Third Fairborn took on their backyard rival at Fifth-Third field, defeating Beavercreek 5-3. Ryan Proffitt was not only the winning pitcher for Fairborn, but also scored three runs on the night. Will Coleman had a two out, two run double in the top of the fifth inning to put Fairborn...
Springfield senior Davis wins county’s top basketball honor
Springfield senior Davis wins county’s top basketball honor

Danny Davis was a star for Springfield’s basketball team from his first game as a freshman in 2013 to his final game last month. Though Davis is Springfield’s all-time leading scorer with 1,774 points, it was made clear at the 40th annual Clark County coaches’ basketball banquet on Monday night at Wittenberg University that what most...
Serena Williams responds to Ilie Nastase's comments on her unborn child
Serena Williams responds to Ilie Nastase's comments on her unborn child

Serena Williams has responded to comments about her unborn child that were made by retired tennis pro Ilie Nastase on Saturday at a news conference ahead of  the Romania Fed Cup playoff against Great Britain, according to ESPN. Nastase, who is the captain of the Romania team, reportedly made a comment in Romanian that was clearly audible to other...
Last year’s Bengals first-round pick itching to get back on field
Last year’s Bengals first-round pick itching to get back on field

No one in the Cincinnati Bengals locker room is more eager to get back to work this season than cornerback William Jackson, the team’s 2016 first-round pick who missed all of his rookie year with a pectoral injury. “I’m itching, I’m itching, I’m ready to get out there now,” Jackson said Monday as the Bengals began...
More Stories