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Who Will Rule the Bengals’ Backfield: Bernard or The Law Firm?

In this year’s April NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals selected North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard in the second round. He was the No. 37 overall pick for the draft and the first running back to leave the boards. 

Bernard has joined the team’s fellow running back, six-year veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis or as he’s fondly known, the Law Firm. The two have different styles with experience on Green-Ellis’ side as he had a 1,000- yard season in 2012.

For Bernard, he brings potential as either a third-down back or as a wide receiver. On Thursday in the Bengals first preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons, Bernard grabbed a one-year rushing score. For the night, he had 10 carries for 28 yards and led the team with his three catches for 16 yards.

He said of his season ahead via ESPN, “I just want to go out there and perform, whether it’s blocking or catching the ball. I want to be that stand-up guy to do it.”

Last season at North Carolina, Bernard scored 17 total touchdowns (12 running and five receiving). He had 1,228 ground yards (a 6.7 yard per carry) and 490 from the air.

Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has hinted that the rookie and Green-Ellis could split the workload in a 50-50 arrangement after Green-Ellis had almost 75 percent of the carries in 2012.

The Law Firm averaged 108.6 rushing yards each game from the Weeks of 11-15. But this followed his 59.7 rushing yard average through the season’s first nine games. He also had two fumbles with just six running touchdowns and zero touchdowns from a catch.

For 2012, Green-Ellis has said he wants more consistent play and compared 2012’s season to the stock market. He recently said via Cincinnati.com, “We were up and down the first half of the season, and then we kind of became like the Dow Jones of old at the end of it. Hopefully we can continue to build on those things, but right now we have to work hard at it every day.”

On August 2, the Bengals released their first depth chart and Green-Ellis got the starting running back role. Some were surprised after numerous reports had Bernard having a great training camp.

The season is young and the rookie will likely see more action in the preseason.

And have an expanded role as he gains experience. Yes, Bengals fans, there’s could be a new leader in the backfield.

Debbie Baratz

Deb has been writing about the NFL and NCAA football for the last few years. She is a full-time writer and an avid sports fan. Follow her on twitter @ldbar.

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