Cincinnati Bengals: 5 Reasons BenJarvus Green-Ellis Will Fail Outside Patriots
BenJarvus Green-Ellis is the newest member of the Cincinnati Bengals' "running back" unit, replacing the role Cedric Benson occupied last season.
While Green-Ellis has been with Patriots over the last five seasons and has appeared in several playoff games, Bengals fans should not get too excited.
He won't be the same player behind Andy Dalton that he was behind Tom Brady, and here's why.
Less Effective Passing Game
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Andy Dalton had a solid start to his NFL career last year, but let's face it, he is not even near the same level as Tom Brady.
With a gunslinger like Tom Brady, the run game naturally opens up. That allows for big runs and explosive plays from the running backs.
However, Green-Ellis has been inconsistent during his time as a Patriot.
He had 275 yards rushing in 2008, 114 in 2009 and 667 last year. The lone bright spot was the 1,008 rushing-yard performance in 2010.
The real concern lies in Green-Ellis' struggle to break the big run. In his four years in the NFL, Law Firm's longest run is 33 yards.
And that's with a very effective passing game.
Cedric Benson was a quick and explosive runner; Green-Ellis isn't, and it will show in the run game.
The Fumble-Less Paradox
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The last time BenJarvus Green-Ellis fumbled the football was during his college days as an Indiana Hoosier. He has touched the ball 562 times during his career in the NFL and has never once let it slip from his hands.
Impressive to say the least.
However, as helpful as it is for a running back to be sure handed, it could come with some strings attached.
That means Green-Ellis is only 150 total touches away from holding the top overall record.
I'm not saying that he will pass up certain risk/reward situations in order to maintain the streak, but it certainly has to be in the back of his mind.
After all, he doesn't have a rush for over 33 yards.
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You simply can't deny that, and Green-Ellis proves it.
Against Pittsburgh last season, Law Firm rushed five times for nine yards (an average of 1.8 yards per carry). Against Baltimore in the AFC Championship game, Green-Ellis only rushed for 68 yards and one touchdown.
Meanwhile, against conference opponents, Green-Ellis only averaged 3.8 yards per carry.
While the Cleveland Browns game will likely allow Green-Ellis to pad his stats, the Ravens and Steelers will be stiff tests.
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Last year, in the first eight games of the season, Green-Ellis rushed for 452 yards on 108 attempts for an average of 4.2 yards per carry.
In the next eight games of the season, the averages dropped considerably to only 215 rushing yards on 73 attempts for a measly 2.9 yards per carry.
One look at the 2012 schedule for the Cincinnati Bengals will tell you that the second half of the season is a lot tougher than the first.
When the Bengals are struggling for a playoff spot later in November and December, BenJarvus Green-Ellis will be missing.
Better off the Bench
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During the 2011 season, BenJarvus Green-Ellis has rushed 80 times for 278 yards and three touchdowns as a starter. As a substitute, he has rushed 101 times for 389 yards and eight touchdowns.
Green-Ellis had a better yards per rush average, more rushing touchdowns and a higher yards per reception while coming off the bench.
Basically, he has proven to be a perfect second-string running back.
That won't be his position in Cincinnati though.
Green-Ellis was brought in to take over the workload left by Cedric Benson.
This season will be a make-or-break point for Green-Ellis as a starting running back in the NFL. Will he step up and silence critics? Time will only tell...