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Giovani Bernard | Running Back

Team: Cincinnati Bengals
Age / DOB:  (22) / 11/22/1991
Ht / Wt:  5'9' / 208
College: North Carolina
Contract: view contract details

Latest News

Recent News

Giovani Bernard has played on every single first-team snap during the preseason so far.
Andy Dalton has handled 25 first-team reps through two games and Bernard has been right there with him for each one. That's meant passing downs, red-zone, short-yardage, and goal-line work (Bernard scored on a 1-yard run Saturday night). However, he's produced just 32 yards on his 10 carries, showing the same limited efficiency he did last season (4.08 YPC). We'll be interested to see if Hue Jackson mixes in BenJarvus Green-Ellis and/or Jeremy Hill (questionable, shoulder) in the revealing third preseason game. For now, projections of 300 touches and some goal-line work for Bernard seem very realistic. Aug 17 - 11:15 PM

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Player News


Giovani Bernard rushed seven times for 22 yards and one touchdown in the Bengals' second preseason game against the Jets on Saturday, adding one catch for six yards.

Most notably, Bernard was given the goal-line and red-zone work. He capitalized on the opportunity by pounding in a one-yard touchdown on the ground against Gang Green's stout defense. While we expect rookie Jeremy Hill to see the bulk of the short-yardage and goal-line carries, Bernard was pretty effective in the red zone as a rookie. Bernard should push for 300 touches in 2014.
Aug 16 - 8:35 PM

The Cincinnati Enquirer believes Giovani Bernard will get a "good share" of the goal-line carries as part of 300 total touches.

It's been widely assumed that power back Jeremy Hill will get goal-line work, but Bernard actually stole some from BenJarvus Green-Ellis last year. Bernard's five rushing touchdowns as a rookie came from 7, 3, 3, 1, and 35 yards out, proving the Bengals' staff isn't averse to using the 208-pounder in that role.
Aug 13 - 10:25 AM

Giovani Bernard started Thursday night's preseason opener, touching the ball four times on an eight-play opening drive.

Bernard rushed three times for 10 yards and caught his lone target for a 9-yard gain. After that drive, the Bengals pulled Andy Dalton, Bernard and most of the starters. Although rookie power back Jeremy Hill didn't get any touches until the second unit came on, we wouldn't read too much into this usage. In a real game, the Bengals will be using both backs in an effort to keep Bernard fresh. We still think he'll push for 300 total touches.
Aug 7 - 8:50 PM

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer's Paul Dehner, Giovani Bernard and rookie Jeremy Hill "are slotted as the starters" in the Bengals' backfield.

Dehner believes BenJarvus Green-Ellis is "definitely on the bubble," as he lacks the special teams value of Cedric Peerman and Rex Burkhead, both of whom are also much cheaper than Law Firm. Still, we found it most notable that Dehner referred to Bernard and Hill as "starters," rather than pegging Gio as the clear-cut No. 1. All signs point to the Bengals running a two-man backfield in 2014.
Aug 7 - 11:55 AM

OC Hue Jackson said Giovani Bernard has had an "outstanding camp" so far.

Bernard's first training camp as the unquestioned starter is going well. "He's so explosive, he can catch the ball, he's a tough son of a gun. He protects. He blocks," Jackson said. With Jackson installing a run-based offense, we could easily see 400 total carries for Bernard and power complement Jeremy Hill. Gio is also going to be a huge factor as a receiver.
Source: CBS Sports
Jul 31 - 11:24 AM

Bengals RBs coach Kyle Caskey hinted at 260-300 touches for Gio Bernard this season.

Bernard had 226 touches last season. This year, he's the clear-cut No. 1 back and Hue Jackson is installing a run-based scheme. "You don't necessarily have to hand it off and say, 'Hey, Gio got 260 touches last year out of the backfield.' Maybe he gets 260 to 300 touches but he gets them some other way," Caskey said. "Maybe he gets 200 out of the backfield but he catches 100 passes or however it is. We'll find a way to get the ball to him."
Jul 28 - 12:44 PM

The Cincinnati Enquirer expects the Bengals to feature Giovani Bernard "early and often."

The Bengals are shifting to a ball-control scheme under new run-first OC Hue Jackson, with Bernard and rookie Jeremy Hill as the centerpieces. Beat writer Paul Dehner Jr. projects at least 230 carries and 70 receptions for Gio, numbers that are realistic considering he had 170 carries and 56 catches as a rookie. "Buckle up," says Dehner. We don't doubt that Bernard is poised for a breakout, but this leap in usage has already been built into his second-round ADP.
Jul 16 - 8:32 AM's Geoff Hobson believes new OC Hue Jackson is targeting a "more ball-possession team that runs it more."

Hobson previously suggested Andy Dalton's pass attempts could dip into the Russell Wilson range. The box-score beneficiaries should be Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill. The Bengals spoke early this offseason of utilizing Bernard a la Ray Rice, whose carries leaped from 107 as a rookie to 254 as a sophomore, and spiked from 33 to 78 receptions. Bernard will likely be replaced at the goal line by Hill, but the table is otherwise set for a nice 2014 breakout.
Jun 25 - 9:34 PM

Giovani Bernard is expected to be used in the passing game often.

Run-heavy Hue Jackson is now the Bengals offensive coordinator and Bernard is his clear-cut starter, but that doesn't mean the 5'9/208 NFL sophomore is going to become a 300-carry pounder. He's expected to dominate the screen game, help replace Andrew Hawkins in the slot and even catch passes further downfield. We're expecting weekly workloads around 13-15 carries and 3-5 catches for Bernard, who projects as a low-end RB1 in PPR formats.
Jun 9 - 8:42 AM

Giovani Bernard handled the first-team handoffs as the Bengals opened Organized Team Activities on Tuesday.

It's notable because Bernard didn't start a single 2013 game, coming "off the bench" in 16 of 16. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was the nominal starter. At Tuesday's OTA, Law Firm was the third-string runner behind Gio and rookie Jeremy Hill. There appears to be a changing of the guard in Cincy's backfield, as Bernard and Hill will be the top-two backs in a (much?) more dynamic rushing attack.
May 27 - 12:35 PM

The Bengals plan to use Giovani Bernard at slot receiver more in 2014.

It's one way to compensate for Andrew Hawkins' departure. "We want to do more with him because he can do that," RBs coach Kyle Caskey said. "It's not just put him in the slot. We want him everywhere on the field. He's a lot like Reggie Bush where you have to be aware at all times." Bernard lined up at receiver 42 times as a rookie. Caskey indicated the Bengals want him there much more this season. Bernard is a threat for 70 catches in an offense where he's going to become more of a true lead back. He offers RB1 potential in PPR leagues.
May 23 - 9:00 AM

Gio Bernard said the "mentality" of the Bengals' offense "has changed."

Former OC Jay Gruden allowed Andy Dalton to attempt 586 passes last season, eighth-most in the league. New OC Hue Jackson is a longtime proponent of the ground game and he's vowed to use the run to set up the pass. Ideally, Dalton will become a suped-up game manager while Jackson rides Bernard, Jeremy Hill and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. "We're just going to smash your face in -- basically," Gio said. It's among the most obvious and impactful schematic changes we'll see this season.
May 22 - 11:33 AM

Coach Marvin Lewis said at the NFL meetings that he envisions "second-year growth" from Giovani Bernard similar to Ray Rice's in Baltimore.

Lewis is a former Ravens assistant, and has faced Rice twice a year as Bengals head coach. Rice's carries ballooned from 107 as a rookie to 254 in his second year, and he caught 78 passes as a sophomore, finishing as the No. 4 overall fantasy running back. Bernard has similarities to Rice in his prime both in terms of size and skill set. Gio is a fantasy blowup candidate for 2014.
Mar 25 - 12:42 PM's Geoff Hobson believes Giovani Bernard will "no doubt border on 300 touches" in 2014.

A workload that large would propel Bernard into the RB1 conversation after he ranked 16th among fantasy backs on 226 touches as a rookie. New OC Hue Jackson's track record in the running game is highly promising. There is still a chance Cincinnati adds a running back via free agency or the draft, but Gio is shaping up as a high-upside RB2. He is versatile with dynamic playmaking ability, and it now looks like he'll have the opportunity to capitalize.
Mar 4 - 8:19 PM

Depth Charts

Skill Players
QB1Andy Dalton
2Jason Campbell
3A.J. McCarron
4Tyler Wilson
RB1Giovani Bernard
2Jeremy Hill
3BenJarvus Green-Ellis
4Cedric Peerman
5Rex Burkhead
GLB1Jeremy Hill
2BenJarvus Green-Ellis
3RB1Giovani Bernard
2Jeremy Hill
FB1Ryan Hewitt
2Orson Charles
3Nikita Whitlock
WR11A.J. Green
2Mohamed Sanu
3Ryan Whalen
4James Wright
5Jasper Collins
WR21Marvin Jones
2Dane Sanzenbacher
3Brandon Tate
4Cobi Hamilton
5Colin Lockett
WR31Mohamed Sanu
TE1Jermaine Gresham
2Tyler Eifert
3Alex Smith
4Kevin Brock
K1Mike Nugent
2Quinn Sharp