As part of the Gillette Clear Gel "Built for Training" program, three veteran NFL players have taken three rookies under their tutelage to teach them the ins and outs of life in the league. The program features a six-episode weekly web series produced by NFL Films that gives fans an up-close look at how the rookie-veteran pairs are handling training camps.
The Cincinnati Bengals took part in the "Built for Training" program, with veteran running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis mentoring rookie Giovani Bernard. This provided Bleacher Report with the perfect opportunity to catch up with Green-Ellis to discuss Cincinnati's offensive plans for 2013, the impact of the Hard Knocks cameras on preparations for the season and, of course, what he's teaching Bernard.
Here's what Green-Ellis had to say.
B/R: You're in a mentor role with rookie Giovani Bernard as part of the Gillette Clear Gel "Built for Training" program. What have you taught him about NFL life on and off the field?
Green-Ellis: Really just off-the-field time management, because it will seem like you have a lot of time, but you really don't have that much time. You have to get your rest, help your body recover and things like that.
On the field, just kind of, you know, the small things you try to get him to see, things like rotation from the safeties—different things like blitz pickups and things like that—running the ball, pressing to the line. Just things like that, normal stuff that you would help anybody out with, not just a rookie, but anyone.
B/R: Hard Knocks has been running on HBO for a few weeks now. How are you handling the constant cameras around while you're trying to do your daily business of training camp and preparing for preseason games?
Green-Ellis: At first, you know, it was kind of weird, all of them always around. Not really "weird," but like, they're in the locker room, training room. But after the first couple days, you kind of get used to it. You get used to seeing them, it's like normal, they don't really get in your way, they're just around. So it started getting normal after the first couple days.
B/R: Yeah, I'm sure you'd get used to it after a little bit of time, except for maybe James Harrison.
B/R: What's it like working with Hue Jackson? He's been featured a lot on Hard Knocks; he definitely has a lot of enthusiasm. But he just moved from secondary and special teams to running backs this year. What's it like working with Hue?
Green-Ellis: It's pretty good. It's a good thing that he went over there on the defensive side of the ball. He's able to tell us how the defense thinks about things, what they're thinking on a certain play or what he's supposed to set on a certain play. Having that knowledge of what the defense is thinking, it helps when you're running the ball or the way you're picking up a blitz or running a route, kind of knowing what the defense is thinking.
He's been a tremendous help to us so far this year, and we're looking forward to a good season.
B/R: What do you expect from the Bengals offense this year, especially after they drafted Giovani Bernard and Tyler Eifert? What do you expect to see this year?
Green-Ellis: I expect us to grow as a unit and to be better in all facets of the game: First down, second down, third down, completions on third down, percentage rates down the field, rates on offense improving and just all of those things we need to do to take that next step to become a better unit.
We all have to have improvement in every facet of our game and have all the members of the offense on field at one time to step up to the plate and get the job done.
B/R: It's kind of a young team, the Bengals right now. Have you taken on a bigger leadership role just because you have more NFL experience than many of your teammates?
Green-Ellis: Yeah, but it's kind of like we're all growing together. This is a new system for me as well. I'm in my second year in this system, so we're all kind of growing and learning what everyone is going to be and learning your teammates' faces and kind of getting that feeling of where they are going to be on certain plays in the game.
Just building that camaraderie, that continuity that comes only by doing it on the practice field and by doing it in games for so long. I feel like we're building that chemistry and that we continue to grow.
That's why I feel we have to continue to take those next steps as an offense and just grow, not shoot ourselves in the foot, keep ourselves always in manageable situations and I feel that we'll be a pretty good offense.
The Gillette Clear Gel "Built for Training" web series can be seen at www.nfl.com/builtfortraining. The six-episode series has new episodes premiering every Tuesday until September 3.