Diminutive Giovani Bernard has been the man for the Bengals out of the backfield, landing in the NFL's top 10 in rushing yards as big backfield mate Jeremy Hill landed in the doghouse with early fumbling issues while sputtering in his second season.
Indications are the Bengals took some measures during the bye week to help fire up their big back, and now it's up to him to reclaim his form from last year, when Hill led the NFL in rushing yards over the final nine games on the way to a 1,000-yard season.
He's on pace for about half his total from last year after six games, averaging just 3.1 yards per carry. Bernard is averaging 5.5 yards per carry.
Hill's rushing yards season high is 63. But he's still scoring, with an AFC-high six touchdowns. He's just not scoring any style points with his offensive coordinator.
But, with more carries, Hill can be more effective. He's a rhythm runner, with a better chance to pop a big gain the more he sees the football.
The Bengals know that.
They have seen his rhythmic kind before in Cedric Benson and Corey Dillon.
However, Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said Hill "doesn't play like I want him to play yet."
Jackson elaborated as he spoke with the local media.
"I'm not going to run from that, he can't run from it either," Jackson said, alluding to the disappointing Hill. "I mean, there's another level for him, and he'll get there, and I believe that with my whole heart."
Jackson pointed to positives.
"He's had some good strong runs, but I know the player he can be," Jackson said. "So, I'm going to keep pushing him to get there."
Jackson has no qualms with Bernard, who has helped save the backfield with his multi-purpose performance the first six weeks. The OC believes that the team needs more than one good runner.
"We need him. He's going to be a huge part down the stretch run once we get back here (after the bye)," Jackson said of Hill.
Which could mean that the Bengals may lean on Hill when the weather gets ill. Jeremy's spoken before. And he may get a chance to make some noise again.