Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cincinnati Bengals: 6 Reasons Why They Should Not Keep Cedric Benson



Cedric Benson was the feature back for the 2010 Cincinnati Bengals.

He came to the Bengals back on Sept. 30, 2008 when the Bengals signed Benson to a one-year, $520,000 contract. He ended that season playing in 12 games picking up 747 yards on the ground and 185 yards receiving.

On March 3, 2009, Benson signed a two-year, $7 million contract with the Bengals. Benson had a big season in 2009. He had 1,251 yards rushing even though he only played 13 games.

In 2010, Benson could not duplicate his 2009 success. He did grind out 1,111 yards rushing, but it took him 321 carries to get it done.

Here is why 2010 should be Benson's last season with the Bengals.

1. Benson Just Isn't Good

In 2010, Benson averaged 3.5 yards per carry. That total matched his 2008 number which was similar to his 2007 number (3.4).

According to footballoutsider.com, Benson was one of the worst running backs in the league in 2010.

Benson had three big games in 2010. The three teams (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns) that he torched for those games rank 28th, 32nd (dead last) and 27th in the league in rushing defense respectively. In Benson's other 13 games, he averaged 2.1 yards per carry. Ouch!

One could make the argument that Benson's successful 2009 season was a product of the power running game. That year, they used an unbalanced line, two tight end formations and a fullback.

2. Fumbles

Benson has not been a fumble machine throughout his career. In his first five seasons, Benson only fumbled seven times.

In 2010, he matched his career total with seven fumbles which is second in the league. When the feature running back puts up less than three yards a carry in most games, he should at least be able to secure the ball.

3. Carson Palmer Needs Help

Teams that can't run the ball well put a lot of pressure on the passing game. In nine out of 16 games, the "bell cow" running back couldn't even pick up more than three yards per carry.

The Bengals usually handed off to Benson waiting for him to get his legs under him, struggling to get 2-3 yards per carry while the offense went nowhere and the team fell behind. Obviously, that won't work.

This kind of performance is what led Carson Palmer to chuck the ball more times than ever in franchise history.

4. Cedric Benson Is One-Dimensional

Cedric Benson caught 28 balls in 2010. That total ranks 30th in the league among running backs. Opposing defenses know that when Benson is in the game, if he doesn't get the handoff, they don't need to worry about him because Carson Palmer will rarely throw it to him.

The Bengals would be better served trying to find a dual-threat running back.

5. Benson Is Easily Replaceable

If the Bengals decide that they want a running back that fumbles a lot, won't get four yards per carry, requires 15 carries to "get it going" and doesn't catch the ball well, there should be a long list of candidates.

They don't need to look past their own roster to find guys that can give them what Benson does. Cedric Peerman and Bernard Scott are more than capable of being one of the worst running backs in the league.

6. Benson Is Old (for a Running Back)

Cedric Benson will turn 29 at the end of 2011. Historically, the drop-off for running backs is at age 30. Benson may be decent in 2011, but the end is certainly near.

Signing Benson to anything more than a two-year deal would be crazy. Even then, expecting a better season than the 2010 season Benson just put up will only lead to disappointment.

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