Bengals RB Scott gets first start vs Seahawks
Bernard Scott has waited two years to get this chance.
The shifty running back will be a focus of the Cincinnati Bengals' offense Sunday in Seattle, taking over for suspended starter Cedric Benson. It'll be his first featured appearance since he started two games as a rookie in 2009.
''I'm excited to go out there and get more opportunities,'' the sixth-round pick said.
There haven't been many of those lately.
Benson gets the overwhelming majority of plays in Cincinnati's run offense, carrying 117 times in the first six games. Scott was so overlooked early in the season that coach Marvin Lewis insisted that offensive coordinator Jay Gruden get him a couple series each game.
Even that wasn't much.
''It's always difficult when you don't know when you're going to get in,'' said Scott, who has carried only 30 times for 85 yards. ''You know you're probably going to get one or two plays or whatever. I feel like the more you're in with the offense, the better feeling you get out of the game. Once I get my rhythm, I think I'll be all right.''
The question is how much the Bengals (4-2) will change their running game on Sunday in Seattle (2-4), where the crowd is loud and rookie quarterback Andy Dalton will rely on Scott instead of Benson to control the ball.
''I don't know if it's going to change much,'' Dalton said on Wednesday. ''Obviously they're two different style backs, but Bernard is capable of doing a lot of good things. We've got to get him in some space and let him run with it.''
Benson is serving a one-game suspension for violating the NFL's conduct policy. He spent five days in a Texas prison settling two misdemeanor assault cases before the season started. The Bengals expect him back next week for a game at Tennessee.
That means Scott gets one chance to show his stuff for an entire game.
''I'm going to get a better feel of the game, and I'll be able to showcase my talent instead of trying to make every play a home run,'' Scott said. ''Every play is not going to be a home run.''
The Bengals have gotten off to their surprisingly strong start by playing good defense - they rank second in the league in yards allowed - and running the ball consistently to take the load off their rookie quarterback. Scott is an inch shorter and 29 pounds lighter than Benson, but has more break-away speed.
''We're two different kinds of backs,'' Scott said. ''He's a bruiser, I'm a slash-and-dash type of back. But if I have to run inside, I don't mind running inside neither.''
The Seahawks have been tough to run against all season. Seattle has allowed only 3.2 yards per carry, best in the NFL. Cincinnati, Baltimore and Dallas have allowed 3.3. Only nine teams are allowing less than 4 yards per carry.
With Scott in the backfield, the Bengals have a better chance of running outside and throwing screen passes that could turn into long gains.
''Bernard is a shifty guy who can get loose,'' left tackle Andrew Whitworth said. ''He's hard to tackle just because of his shiftiness. He's just a different style, where Ced's more of a full-steam-ahead, power-runner type guy. Just a little different.
''It doesn't really change anything we do just because a different guy's carrying the football. So it's different for the defense, not that much different for us.''
Notes: MLB Rey Maualuga is wearing a walking boot this week to support his sprained left ankle. He sat out a win over Indianapolis and will miss the game in Seattle. He hopes to be back next week for a game in Tennessee. ... LB Thomas Howard didn't practice Wednesday because of a hamstring injury. CB Nate Clements was limited by a sore hamstring. ... CB Adam ''Pacman'' Jones fully participated for the second straight practice. Jones, who missed the first six games while recovering from neck surgery, could be activated for the game in Seattle.