The Cincinnati Bengals have a new look in their backfield this season.
For the last few years, Cedric Benson has been the workhorse running back, with Bernard Scott serving as the change-of-pace back.
Benson is now gone after the team opted not to re-sign him and Scott is doubtful for Monday’s game because of a hand injury.
That means most of the work will fall on the shoulders of free-agent acquisition BenJarvus Green Ellis, whom the Ravens know well from his time in New England.
“He is a hard-nosed runner,” linebacker
Green-Ellis, 5-foot-11, 220 pounds, is a power runner that fits with the Bengals’ physical running style.
He signed with Cincinnati this offseason after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Patriots. He’s coming off a season where he ran for 667 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Those numbers could grow this season in a Bengals offense that runs the ball more often than New England.
“[He is] another underrated player, probably, throughout the course of his career when you look at production,” Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “I thought that was a really good pickup by the Bengals. When they picked him up, I was kind of disappointed, because I have just been so impressed with him. He is a really good running back.”
One piece of Green-Ellis’ game that really impresses Harbaugh is his ability to hang onto the football. In 536 career touches, he has no fumbles.
“It’s incredible,” Harbaugh said about never fumbling.
In his one contest against the Ravens last year, Green-Ellis had a solid performance. He carried the ball 15 times for 68 yards and a touchdown in the AFC championship win over Baltimore.
With all the weapons in New England’s offense, Green-Ellis often flew under the radar, but his contributions weren’t lost on the Ravens.
“He did great things in New England,” safety
Stopping the run is a priority of the Ravens, especially against a division rival like Cincinnati. The Ravens limited Benson’s production in the two matchups last year – 41 yards in Week 11 and 51 yards in Week 17 – and they will hope to do the same with Green-Ellis in the backfield.
“We have our hands full because he is a complete back,” Lewis said.