Bengals RB Bernard Scott tore his ACL on Sunday and will miss the remainder of the season. Who will absorb his carries is yet to be seen. (US Presswire)

The eagerly anticipated contract year for Bengals RB Bernard Scott moved from frustrating to devastating Sunday.

Scott missed the majority of preseason with a broken hand, then sat out a game against Jacksonville with an ankle injury before returning Sunday against Miami where he tore his ACL. The Bengals placed him on IR Monday.

The Bengals hoped Scott would take over in a shared role as a change-of-pace back for RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis to create an explosive combo, instead Scott only managed eight carries before the injury.

As for where the Bengals go from this point forward, Marvin Lewis didn't sound like a guy surveying the free-agent market. With Brian Leonard and special teams ace Cedric Peerman in the wings, the Bengals appear bound for three active running backs on gameday.

“If we don't like what we are doing we'll find somebody else but we are who we are right now,” Lewis said. “I don't think we'll change what we are doing. Obviously, BenJarvus will have a little bigger impact in things.”

Any impact would be an upgrade. Green-Ellis and the running backs have sputtered to an average of 3.5 yards per rush through five games. The blame sprinkles over every position on the offense, not just the backs, but the effect is being felt in the play-calling of offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. The frustration sets in consistently being hamstrung by third-and-long situations.

“Makes it a lot easier calling plays when you know you have a running game that can hit 5,6,7 yards instead of being second-and-10, second-and-9,” Gruden said. “It's tough, you lose confidence in calling them on first down.”

Profiling the options to absorb Scott's carries:

Who: BenJarvus Green-Ellis

Stats: 91 rushes, 300 yards, 3.3 per carry, 3 fumbles, 2 touchdowns, zero rushes of 20-plus yards

Pros: He's the most accomplished running back in the stable. The fifth-year veteran handled the majority of the carries to this point and the Bengals believe he gives them their best opportunity to succeed on the ground.

Cons: The most carries of his career came in 2009 when he lugged it 229 times for New England. He's on pace for 291 right now. Green-Ellis never played the role of workhorse and asking him to do so here could detract from the quality of his touches. That's been evidenced by his lackluster average to this point.

Telling quote: Marvin Lewis on if he envisioned Green-Ellis having 90 carries through five games when signed him – “Sure. That’s one reason why we got Ben, to have the ability to do that.”

Who: Brian Leonard

Stats: 6 carries, 26 yards, 4.3 per rush, 3 receptions, 32 yards

Pros: He's as reliable as you'll find and already the team's third-down back. In limited carries he's played well and wouldn't be overwhelmed by the situation.

Cons: He's steady but not flashy. For a team looking for a speed dyanmic to pair with the grinding pace of Green-Ellis, Leonard doesn't quite fit the bill. Plus, his well-defined third-down role has served the team well.

Telling quote: “I know my role on this team,” Leonard said. “We'll see if (Peerman) gets more carries, see if I get more carries, we'll see what happens, but I know we are not the type of guys to ask for more carries so we'll do what we are asked to do.”

Who: Cedric Peerman

Stats: 4 carries, 23 yards plus a fake-punt rush for 48 yards

Pros: Peerman owns the speed factor the Bengals desired with Scott. He's not quite as explosive, but brings more of that than the other two. He's never been given a true chance in the regular season and could be one of those surprise backs like many thriving throughout the league.

Cons: While as reliable as can be in special teams, he's never been given an opportunity for a reason. He doesn't own the physical assets or experience of Leonard or Green-Ellis.

Telling quote: “Cedric I think with more opportunities will prove he belongs,” Gruden said. “He's got great vision he just has had limited opportunities. It will be good for him to get some more opportunities see if he can handle it and make some big plays for us.”

Who: Dan Herron

Stats: None, sixth-round pick on practice squad

Pros: Young and unknown could mean hidden talent.

Cons: It typically doesn't. He's not even run with the Bengals offense in practice, usually confined to scout team.

Telling quote: “He's got a long way to go,” Gruden said. 

Follow Paul Dehner Jr. for Bengals updates on Twitter at @CBSBengals.