Most offensive coaches and coordinators often talk about the importance of the running game. Most also get away from it at the first sign of trouble and just fall in line with today's pass-first NFL. But with a good-but-not-great quarterback at the helm and Giovani Bernard in the backfield, Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said during his Friday press conference that he indeed wants to base his offense around running.
"We know we need to run the football, we want to run the football," Jackson said. "That's where it starts, that's what [head coach Marvin Lewis] preaches. And then from there, we have some very talented players on the outside. We have to give them opportunities to make plays. We're not going to shy away from having to throw when we need to, but I think in order to win and be a very good offensive football team, you have to be able to run the ball, and that's going to be the starting point for us.
"Our offense starts with being physical. You have to be able to run the football, in my mind, to win football games. You can't become one dimensional in pro football anymore."
If the Bengals release BenJarvus Green-Ellis prior to the final year of his contract this offseason -- and there's a chance they might -- Bernard looks like he could be a late-first, early second round fantasy pick. A.J. Green 's numbers won't suddenly plummet because the Bengals run it more often, but Jackson has had notable success with running backs in his past. Darren McFadden put together his two best statistical seasons while Jackson was on top of the offense in Oakland from 2010-2011.