|Bengals RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 1,094 yards during the regular season. (AP)|
Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis returns to the playoffs this week for the first time with his new team. Last year, he finished with New England in the Super Bowl and he'll attempt to bring Patriots' playoff savvy to a franchise that hasn't won a postseason game in 21 years.
|The home of the Super Bowl|
Green-Ellis set a career high with 1,094 rushing yards on 278 carries this year. He topped the 100-yard mark in four of his final six games. He didn't play the final week of the season against Baltimore due to a tight hamstring but returned to practice Wednesday in preparation for Saturday's first-round game against Houston.
He touched on topics from playoff mojo to the evolution of the Bengals' ground game to playing the role of power running back in a passing league.
You've played in a Super Bowl and four playoff games. What do you tell guys who haven't been around as much?
Green-Ellis: "You go out there and play ball. It's not one of those things where you try to make it more than what it is. It's going to be a little bit more intense maybe, but once the game settles down the game is always going to be the game, I don't care if its the Super Bowl or what you are playing for. The game never changes."
How much do you notice defenses selling out to stop the run, like what Pittsburgh did against you?
Green-Ellis: "It's kind of been a thing. That was especially what they have been doing but we have things that we have to do to take those things away. Obviously, when defenses show us one thing on film then we get into the game they are doing different things to try and take whatever it is, the running game away or whether it's the passing game, whatever we just need to make adjustments and make adjustments on the fly. That's going to be big for us going forward especially being able to make those adjustments right there on the sideline and taking something away if they are trying blitzes or whatever it is we have to make adjustments right there."
Defense winning championships, this is transforming into an offensive league. How much better do you think this offense has to get to make a run?
Green-Ellis: "You just look at transforming everything into an offensive league, but at the same point in time, it doesn't matter what type of league it is -- it always comes back to those traditional things: running the football. It's a passing league but you look at the things that the runners have been doing over the course of the past two years, even though it's turning into a passing league, look at Adrian Peterson. You look around the league and even with Washington, I was watching their game the other night and Alfred Morris. You're not getting a lot of big plays like you used to because I think teams are adjusting. They're putting two and three cornerbacks on the field. You have three wide receivers. We have three cornerbacks out there. So it's not like it was before when they were matched up against linebackers and people maybe didn't have the personnel and depth."
Do running backs -- like hitter in baseball -- get into a rhythm where you feel things starting to build week to week?
Green-Ellis: "It goes back to that question somebody asked me about momentum. It's just one of those things, when everyone is clicking at the same time, running backs and offensive line, we feel like we work well together and when those things happen you get big plays in the running game, you get dominating drives in that game. Things like that. When you can run a ball on a team, it kind of takes the wind out of their defense. You can see the depression on their faces and things like that. So it's a little bit of a different attitude. Running the football is not only physical but it's mental, the mental effect it has one defenders. They're upset."
Ray Lewis is retiring. As a running back, are glad you won't have to face him any more?
Green-Ellis: "Not really. It's always a pleasure to play against a player, a future Hall of Famer like Ray Lewis. Whenever you're playing against good players, you always step up your play and you play your best. So you always want their best guys out there."
Follow Paul Dehner Jr. for Bengals updates on Twitter @CBSBengals.