More touches ahead for Gio Bernard?
July, 16, 2014
By Matt Williamson | ESPN Insider
The Cincinnati Enquirer's Paul Dehner is reported that the Cincinnati Bengals are expected to feature Giovani Bernard "early and often," maybe enough to get him 300 touches in 2014.
So is that a realistic number for the second-year back? I very much think so. In his rookie season, Bernard carried the ball 170 times and caught 56 passes. Adding another 74 touches to those totals should be quite doable. In fact, it could pay off huge for Cincinnati.
Bernard touched the ball only 14 times in his first two games as a professional. Over his first nine games, he carried the ball just 81 times. But during the final seven games of the regular season plus the Bengals' first round playoff loss, Bernard carried the ball 101 times and never had single-digit rushing attempts in a single game over that span. If that pace continues for the entire 2014 season, Bernard will carry the ball 230 times.
Even though Jeremy Hill was added in the second round of the draft, I expect 230 carries to be about the floor of what to expect from Bernard as a runner. He is short, but he has a powerful lower body and has the build to withstand the punishment, much like Maurice Jones-Drew or Ray Rice.