The Green Bay Packers unveiled their newest running back Thursday night as Cedric Benson returned to Cincinnati as a visitor.
The Bengals opted to add BenJarvus Green-Ellis in free agency instead of re-signing Benson, and now he’s with a loaded Packers offense and he could become the starter before Week 1. Benson ran for 38 yards on six carries and should be the man moving forward while James Starks is sidelined with turf toe.
Benson looked comfortable in the up-tempo attack and caught one pass for 10 yards. There will be questions about his ability to handle pass blocking duties because he doesn’t have a lot of experience in that role. But the Packers brought him in to run the ball and while he might not do that 20 times a game for them, it looks like he has added a dimension that has been missing.
"It's a passing offense, so it creates a lot of seams for a running back," Benson said, according to Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It's like I don't have to work as hard to create explosive runs in this offense. At least that's the illusion I get right now. But I'm sure it can only get better.
"I'm like a kid in the candy store. All I have to do is press the hole and let the linemen get their head on one side and explode through the hole on the backside.”
It was important for Benson to perform well against his former team too.
"I definitely wanted to come out and send a message,” he said. “I think we achieved that."
And coach Mike McCarthy was pleased with the effort as well.
“Cedric looked very natural carrying the ball,” McCarthy said. “Obviously there are some language adjustments that still have to be worked through, but he is an instinctive and powerful player."
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune