Morning Stripes: Don't forget Burkhead

April, 2, 2014
Apr 2
8:00
AM ET
Often this offseason we've discussed the Cincinnati Bengals' plans to implement a more physical offensive attack that ought to include more running and play-action activity.

Giovani Bernard, rightfully, has been the running back most associated with the tweaks new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is hoping to implement. BenJarvus Green-Ellis' name has been mentioned a lot, too. He is, after all, the more physical runner of the two backs.

But aside from the top two backs on the Bengals' depth chart, and potential plans of bringing in a free agent or a drafted running back this May, not much else has been said about the rest of their backfield plans.

It's easy to forget that Cedric Peerman and Rex Burkhead, and H-back Orson Charles, are even on the roster, let alone in the mix at the running back positions.

Charles provided a rather newsworthy reminder of his status as a Bengals back with his untimely arrest Monday night for wanton endangerment. The second-year player who was moved from tight end last preseason is alleged to have waved a gun at another motorist while driving south on Interstate 75 through Kentucky. The Bengals won't comment on his situation until the legal process has run its course.

Last season, Charles caught just one pass, appearing in only 62 offensive plays. Tight end Tyler Eifert also played Charles' position at times during the season, dropping into the backfield to block as an H-back on certain plays. While Charles may have been rather limited in his H-back duties, he did play more regularly on special teams. It will be interesting to see if the arrest impacts his standing on the team.

As for Peerman and Burkhead, the two tailbacks had a combined 33 snaps last season. All of them were Peerman's. Burkhead was active in only one game. Peerman played all 16, appearing primarily on special teams.

In our lone Morning Stripe for this Wednesday, we take a look at Bengals.com contributor Brett Jager's piece on Burkhead, a player who hopes to have a much bigger impact in his second year.

Much of Burkhead's offseason has been comprised of speed and strength work as he tries to keep up with the likes of Bernard and Green-Ellis. Like Jager mentioned, the Bengals have had success recently with players who have transitioned into their second seasons. Receiver Marvin Jones may be the team's poster boy for going from little-used rookie to impact player in Year 2. Jones was the Bengals' second-leading receiver last season.

Because of the players who are ahead of him on the depth chart, there is a good chance Burkhead won't be getting the same number of opportunities as Jones did in 2013. But with the Bengals needing as many fresh running back bodies as they'll take in Jackson's new scheme, he will certainly be one to watch this fall.

Coley Harvey

ESPN Cincinnati Bengals reporter

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