Gio Bernard: Bengals’ offense will ‘smash your face in’

Under new coordinator Hue Jackson, the Bengals’ offense is expected to shift to a more run-heavy approach, with the ground game setting up the pass.

You could call it smashmouth football. Literally.

“It’s a lot more tempo, tempo, tempo,” running back Giovani Bernard said, via “We’re just going to smash your face in — basically.”

Gone, presumably, are the days of quarterback Andy Dalton airing it out 586 times, as he did last season in Jay Gruden’s identity-challenged scheme. Gone is the passive approach of taking what the defense gives you.

“The mentality of the offense has changed,” Bernard said.

Though Cincinnati finished seventh in scoring (26.9 points per game) in 2013, the offense was often stagnant. In the ever-evolving NFL, the Patriots and Eagles, most notably, have proven that an up-tempo attack is the way to go.

The Bengals are hoping to follow a similar model.

“You’re just trying to get as many snaps as you can in,” offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth said. “It’s not so much that you’re no-huddling, but you’re really trying to play at a fast pace.”

Considering Dalton’s limitations, Jackson would be wise to lean on his trio of capable running backs — Bernard, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and rookie Jeremy Hill. Bernard, an explosive talent, received only 170 carries last year. That number must skyrocket if the Bengals are serious about creating tempo and smashing faces.

(Photo credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)

Zack Kelberman
An award-winning sportswriter, reporter and blogger, Zack currently serves as the Miami Dolphins live correspondent and Team Stream curator for Bleacher Report. He's also a freelance NFL writer and the founder/editor-in-chief of Helmet2Helmet. His work has appeared on media outlets such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports,,, and Zack can be reached on Twitter (@ZackKelberman) or via email (