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Giovani Bernard's Cincinnati Bengals role to increase

Now that Hue Jackson is graduating from running backs coach to offensive coordinator, the Cincinnati Bengals are expected to place a renewed emphasis on the ground attack.

The primary beneficiary will be Giovani Bernard, who averaged two more yards per touch than BenJarvus Green-Ellis last season.

According to Geoff Hobson of the Bengals' official website, there is "no doubt" Bernard's workload will "border on 300 touches" in 2014.

For a frame of reference, Bernard touched the ball 226 times in 2013 compared to 224 for Green-Ellis.

Throughout last season, we had suggested expanding Bernard's role while relegating Green-Ellis to a between-the-tackles hammer.

If that is the Bengals' plan going forward, coach Marvin Lewis isn't ready to publicly acknowledge it.

Asked by Around The League at the NFL Scouting Combine if he's ready to increase Bernard's role in the offense, Lewis pointed to the NFL's trend away from workhorse backs. The coaching staff believes Bernard's body is better served by 15 to 19 touches per game rather than 20 to 25.

That proposed workload would still increase Bernard's touches by 25 to 75 touches over the course of the 2014 season. It's a reasonable expectation for those carrying Bernard in fantasy leagues.

The latest edition of the "Around The League Podcast" weighs in on Monday's franchise-tag surprises and unpacks all the 49ers drama out west.

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