Bengals coordinator Hue Jackson wants more from RB Jeremy Hill

Bengals running back Jeremy Hill scored two TDs in Week 1, but averaged just 3.3 yards per carry. Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports

CINCINNATI -- Hue Jackson doesn't care too much about Jeremy Hill's two touchdowns in last week's season-opening win against the Oakland Raiders.

Naturally, the Cincinnati Bengals' offensive coordinator was glad his second-year running back was able to contribute with a pair of scores, but he wasn't very satisfied with Hill's day overall. It was just a pretty middle-of-the-road performance that happened to give Hill a couple of scoring opportunities.

Jackson wants more.

"Jeremy's got ability, and Jeremy needs to play as good as he can play, and I know he can play better," Jackson said Wednesday afternoon. "He scores two touchdowns and everybody thinks that's great. But there are some plays he left out there. He'd be the first to tell you that, so I'm not telling you something he doesn't know."

Jackson is right. Hill knew it the moment he stepped back into the cramped visiting baseball locker room at O.co Coliseum.

"It was just average at best," Hill said of his day. "I have to play better to give us a better chance."

The Bengals won, 33-13.

Hill's scores featured his patented creative touchdown celebrations, but he finished with 19 carries for 63 yards -- a mediocre 3.3 yards per carry average.

That was the fourth-worst single-game rushing average of Hill's career, and it came against a defense the Bengals expected to have better success against on the ground. Hill's worst yards-per-carry showing of his career doesn't really even count. He gained one yard on two carries at New England last season. Last Sunday's average was the worst he's had with more than 13 carries in a game.

"I'm going to ride Jeremy," Jackson said. "He better respond good."

Jackson was most impressed with the way third-year running back Giovani Bernard put moves on defenders and ran away from defenders who chased him out of holes that closed quicker than he anticipated. Jackson felt Bernard put on a clinic of in-play creativity that Hill needs to pay attention to.

"There's guys that we turn loose on a hole one on one and [Bernard] beat them. That's what running backs do and that's what I expect our backs to do," Jackson said. "Jeremy needs to do that more. I told him that. So that's not a secret. That's what great backs do. They make plays out of nothing sometimes."

The coach said he had no plans to back down from this impassioned tone. He plans to keep imploring Hill, and others, to do more.

"I love him to death. That guy's got a lot of ability," Jackson said. "So I'm not ever going to be nice to one of our good guys. Our good guys have to be great. Our A.J. Greens, our Jeremy Hills, the Andrew Whitworths, the Andre Smiths, the Andy Daltons. Those guys have got to play consistent and play great every week for us to be what we can be, and that's what my expectation for them is. I tell them. I'm never going to shy away from that when it comes to our good players."