CINCINNATI Its hard to practice smash-mouth football when there isnt a lot of smash permitted in practice. Not impossible but it does make things tougher.
The NFL continues to evolve into more of a passing league. The Bengals are in step with the majority of the league in that they throw the ball more than they run it; last year they attempted 540 passes (not counting sacks) compared to 430 rushing attempts. The last time they ran the ball more than they threw it was in 2009, although factor in sacks and they did have one more passing play (506) than running play (505).
The NFL is a quarterback-driven league but that doesnt mean the running game isnt important, especially in the AFC North where weather conditions, particularly late in the season, may dictate a greater emphasis on running the ball.
So how does a team evaluate where its run game is when the physical part that is vital to any rushing attack is heavily curtailed in practice? There isnt as much hitting done in practi...