Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson is coming off the best season of his five-year career after rushing for 1,251 yards and six touchdowns in 2009.
Now, he enters 2010 with a personal goal of his own. Along with helping his team reach the Super Bowl, he wants to break Rudi Johnson's single-season rushing record.
In 2005, Johnson set the team's franchise record by rushing for 1,458 yards on top of his 12 touchdowns. Considering Benson missed the mark by just 207 yards and finished eighth among running backs—despite playing in just 13 games—there's every reason to believe Benson has what it takes to accomplish his personal goal for 2010.
The argument can be made that Benson would already hold the record had he played in those three games. While he sat the regular-season finale against the Jets' top-ranked rushing defense to rest for the playoffs, he missed two games against the Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns—who finished last season in the bottom five for rushing yards allowed per game—due to a hip injury.
After playing during most of the Carson Palmer era for a team known to have a strong passing game, the Bengals became a unit that relied heavily on the strength of their ground game last season.
As important as the team's needs were this offseason to add another wide receiver to improve last year's 26th ranked passing game, Cincinnati knew their top priority was to re-sign key members of the offensive line.
The two members of the offensive line the Bengals had to worry about for next season were offensive guard Bobbie Williams and center Kyle Cook. After reaching deals with both players last week, Cincinnati's offensive line has the potential to be just as effective next season, if not better, depending on Andre Smith's status.
All the cards are in place for Benson to break Johnson's record with the Bengals next season; it's just a matter of whether or not the star running back carries over his success from last year into 2010.