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Jeremy Hill, Bengals offense better than you think


Pop quiz: Which running back led the NFL in rushing yards and yards per carry in the second half of the 2014 season?

It wasn't Offensive Player of the Year DeMarco Murray. It wasn't serial tackle-breaker Marshawn Lynch. It wasn't dual-threat Le'Veon Bell.

It was Cincinnati Bengals rookie Jeremy Hill, who is poised to break out as a household name in 2015.

After watching Hill on Game Rewind, I came away with the belief that he has a chance to rival Corey Dillon and James Brooks as the best backs in franchise history if he can avoid serious injury.

With his patience and decisive one-cut slashing style, he's reminiscent of Arian Foster in the heavy-traffic areas near the line of scrimmage.

Once he gets to the second level, Hill channels former Packers star Ahman Green. He has enough speed to break off multiple runs over 60 yards, the power to shed arm tackles and a knack for using interference to play keep-away from defenders in the open field.

How many running backs boast a three-down skill set, the ability to move the chains between the tackles, short-yardage prowess, the quickness to beat linebackers to the edge, screen-game capability, homerun distance and the ability to play in the two-minute passing drill as well as the four-minute clock-killing offense?

It's rare for a back of Hill's 6-foot-1, 235-pound frame to beat multiple defenders to the corner like he did versus the Steelers in this clip to the right. You won't see many more impressive runs for no gain.

As a well-rounded power back, Hill is in an exclusive club with the likes of Foster, Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Le'Veon Bell, Jamaal Charles and DeMarco Murray.

Unlike the majority of those bell cows, he's paired with a premier receiving back in Giovani Bernard -- giving Cincinnati one of the league's most dangerous backfields.

For all of the offseason hype about the Packers threatening records, the Steelers emerging as the NFL's best offense and the Colts' loaded roster, the Bengals' pick-your-poison attack is flying under the radar.

Hill commands a stacked box while four-time Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green draws extra attention from safeties, putting defenses in a quandary. With big-play machine Marvin Jones and tight end Tyler Eifert healthy this season to go with Bernard and Mohamed Sanu, play-caller Hue Jackson will spend the season toying with his counterparts by exploiting mismatches.

In other words, this is shaping up as a make-or-break season for Andy Dalton. If he doesn't produce a career year with the most firepower the Bengals have stockpiled since the 1988 Super Bowl squad, the team's brass will be tempted to seek alternatives.

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