Rookie running back
After his 17th bone-rattling carry of Thursday night, Bengals rookie running back Jeremy Hill came off the field to be greeted by 12-year veteran cornerback
“He said I’m going to be a force in the league if I keep doing what I’m doing,” said the 6-1, 233-pound Hill after he force-fed the Colts 160 of the Bengals’ 319 yards. “He said guys aren’t going to want to tackle me with a full head of steam. He said, ‘Just keep working man. You’ll be pretty good in this league.’”
Hill was so good Thursday night the Bengals must have thunder and lightning dancing through their heads with Opening Day in Baltimore now nine days away. While running back
This is what the Bengals had in mind when they took Hill in the second round out of LSU back in May. A punch it out, 233-pound 4.0 yards per guy. Hill is more than that, but in his first 41 carries as a Bengal, the number is 4.6.
Hill’s 26 touches typified what new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson wants. Power as he lined up much of the time behind rookie fullback
“The proudest moment was seeing him catch a screen. That was taking some yardage,” said quarterback
Hill savored it Thursday night. He felt like taking a pounding was needed. That’s why he didn’t blink when Lewis put him back in the game early in the second half after he had left the first half with a funny bone shot to his elbow. Or when he took two more carries after
“We only had two backs. He didn’t have too many options. If we had a full room, I wouldn’t have got that much work,” Hill said. “I’m kind of happy about it. I thought I earned some trust from my teammates and coaches. From a trust side and a respect side. Just being able to get that workload and not tap out and just still want to finish drives and finish runs.”
There’s no question there. His longest run of the night came on his last carry, a 17-yard grinder he broke outside. But that’s not his favorite. Just look at another third-and-one, his specialty. It came in a scoreless game with five minutes left in the first half from the Colts 13 and Hill lowered his head to follow rookie fullback
“The tight end (
Hill says this game wasn’t all that much different than the ones in high school in Baton Rouge or in college at LSU. Defenders don’t exactly embrace the idea of tackling him.
“Being 6-1, 230 pounds, once I get a full head of steam, guys don’t want to see that,” Hill said. “Being a big guy, they don’t like me coming at them full force. They’re not trying to hit me flush.
“You’ll see it on film,” he said. “Guys weren’t really trying to hit me. They just kind of waited until I got past them. They were shoe lacing me down. I have to keep getting better at going through some of their leg tackles. They were trying to get me through the legs.”
If his foes aren’t looking to make contact, Hill is. He picked up a couple of blitzes, including one that allowed Campbell to get off a third-down completion to Alex Smith.
“Coach Hue did a great job this week of getting us those looks. All those looks that they showed, I was ready for them,” Hill said. “I was looking at film and studying before the game. I stuck my head in there, picked it up and gave my quarterback time, which is something we harp on every week. That was something I was happy about, and that’s the biggest thing I’m taking away from this game.”
Campbell has 79 starts in this league and Hill is right. The vets were talking about him.
“He runs hard,” Campbell said. “He came from one of the toughest conferences in the country at LSU and one thing they do really well is run the ball. It’s really going to help the other backs in our backfield.”