Bengals RB Green-Ellis finally emerging
BenJarvus Green-Ellis showed the Bengals his competitiveness this
summer when he got wrapped up in a team volleyball game that was
supposed to be just for fun.
To him, fun means winning.
''He was out there competing, trying to encourage guys, making sure we
didn't lose and things like that,'' quarterback Andy Dalton said on
On the field, the running back's results were disappointing in the
first half of the season, when a young offensive line had trouble
opening holes. Now, Green-Ellis has run for more than 100 yards in each
of the last three games, steadying the offense during a four-game
winning streak that has Cincinnati (7-5) back in playoff contention.
His new team is seeing that competitive streak again.
''It's fun to see because he's really turned it on these last couple
weeks,'' Dalton said. ''It doesn't seem like anything's stopping him.''
Green-Ellis signed with the Bengals as a free agent after four years
with New England, where he had a total of 20 starts and four 100-yard
games. The Bengals were looking for a more versatile replacement for
Cedric Benson as they evolved into a West Coast offense.
The running game struggled mightily at the outset. Green-Ellis averaged
less than 60 yards in the first nine games, and the Bengals rushed for
only 93.7 per game, eighth-worst in the NFL.
There's been a pronounced change lately. Green-Ellis ran for 101
against Kansas City, 129 against Oakland and 118 against San Diego,
becoming the first Bengals running back with three straight 100-yard
games since Corey Dillon in 1999.
During the last two games, he's broken runs of 48, 41 and 39 yards, the
three longest of his career.
Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden thinks it's a matter of Green-Ellis
settling in behind a new offensive line that was in flux because of
injuries early in the season.
''It was his first time with a new line and a new system and
terminology and all that stuff,'' Gruden said. ''A lot of the runs were
the same he's used to, but still you've got to get used to your linemen
and our aiming points and all that.
''He's done a great job being patient, but making his decisions and
getting up the field have been outstanding. That's the big thing.''
The Bengals got to see another side of him during the second half of
their 20-13 win in San Diego on Sunday. After Green-Ellis was dropped
for a loss on third-and-1, he was outspoken on the sideline, rallying
the rest of the offense.
''He's vocal in a sense that when he feels like something needs to be
said, he'll say it,'' left tackle Andrew Whitworth said. ''He'll ask
what he needs and what we have to do to be successful. He's not scared
to talk about it. And that's a good thing. It's a mark of a guy that's
Green-Ellis is the opposite of Benson when it comes to sharing his
thoughts with the public. Benson would meet with the media in front of
his locker every Wednesday to discuss the state of the team and the
upcoming game. If he thought the Bengals were overlooking the run, he'd
Green-Ellis doesn't do many interviews and doesn't say much even then.
''I'm only thinking about Dallas, that's about it,'' he said after
practice on Wednesday. ''I don't even care about the last three games.
Those are etched in stone. Nothing we can do about them. Only thing I
care about is improving and worrying about Dallas.''
The Cowboys (6-6) come to Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday, needing to stop
Green-Ellis in order to have a chance to stay in the playoff chase.
Dallas is one of four teams in the NFC at 6-6, a game behind Seattle
for the final wild card berth.
''Physically the line is good up front, but he just has a good feel for
running,'' Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. ''I think anybody who's
followed his career when he was in New England, he just seemed to make
a lot of yards. He's certainly doing that in Cincinnati.''
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