Split Backfield May Be Best Option For The Bengals Offense

JT SchroderContributor INovember 30, 2009

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 29:  Larry Johnson #27 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball  during the NFL game against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on November 29, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Watching Larry Johnson explode through the line of scrimmage reminded me of his glory days back in Kansas City.  He ran with power, authority, and as my high school football coach liked to say, "with a two- ton chip on his shoulder."

Maybe the old Larry Johnson is back. Maybe the old Larry Johnson never left in the first place.   I'm inclined to think that Johnson's diminishing numbers in Kansas City were more about his ballerina-like offensive line than his diminishing skills as a runner.  Now with the Bengals and their STACKED offensive line, I bet we'll be seeing old LJ in the end zone with much more frequency.

Take a look at Matt Cassel's numbers this year compared to last.  Statistically, Cassel's numbers have taken a drastic turn for the worse.  So have Cassel's skills diminished that much in one year?  Or is he simply a product of his system and offensive line? 

The same case can be made for LJ.  I'm sure with the Bengals big guns on the offensive line, we'll be seeing LJ in the end zone with much more frequency than we did while he was in Kansas City.  If, and only if he gets an opportunity to play.

Once Cedric Benson returns from his injury, it should be interesting to see how many carries LJ will get.  And finding that balance between the two will be a delicate situation for Marvin Lewis to handle. 

I think the best move for the Bengals is to split the carries 50/50.  And whoever does the best job secures the bulk of the carries for the playoffs.

Whatever the outcome, having two great running backs is a great problem for the Bengals to have.