You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

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.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

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

Archie Miller credits ‘electric crowds’ for last two wins
Archie Miller credits ‘electric crowds’ for last two wins

Dayton Flyers coach Archie Miller looked back Monday on victories against Richmond and Saint Louis, talking with WHIO’s Larry Hansgen and fans during the coach’s show at Fricker’s on Woodman Drive. Here are some highlights: On the two wins last week: “It was a good week for us. Anytime you can come off the road with a two-game...
Reds prospect Nick Senzel gets another honor after huge Dragons season
Reds prospect Nick Senzel gets another honor after huge Dragons season

In case you needed another indication Nick Senzel has a bright future, here you go: MLB.com rated the Cincinnati Reds’ most-recent No. 1 draft pick the second-best third-baseman prospect out there. The former Tennessee standout was already named the Reds’ best prospect by Baseball America after a super season with the Dayton Dragons last...
Ben Roethlisberger delivers ominous quotes about his football future
Ben Roethlisberger delivers ominous quotes about his football future

As long as the Steelers have the best quarterback in the AFC North, they figure to be contenders to win the division. But what if Ben Roethlisberger weren’t back in Gold and Black next season? Appearing on 93.7 The Fan radio in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, he said he is “going to take this offseason to evaluate, to consider all options.&rdquo...
Erin Andrews diagnosed with cervical cancer during 2016 NFL season
Erin Andrews diagnosed with cervical cancer during 2016 NFL season

Sports broadcaster Erin Andrews tapped into the toughness of the athletes whom she covers on the field when she faced a cancer diagnosis during the 2016 NFL season. Andrews was diagnosed with cervical cancer in October 2016. The Fox Sports analyst said she was determined not to miss a single game, even though she required surgery. According to a MMQB...
Cincinnati Bengals sign former Miami RedHawks linebacker
Cincinnati Bengals sign former Miami RedHawks linebacker

The Bengals on Tuesday signed free agent linebacker Bryson Albright, a Miami University product and Cincinnati native, to a Reserve/Future contract. Albright, a St. Xavier High School grad, will not be counted against the team’s active list until Feb. 6, the day after the Super Bowl. Albright (6-foot-5, 225 pounds) is classified as a first-year...
More Stories