Joe Mixon is set to have a huge role as the Bengals running back in 2018. He is now the unquestioned lead back, and he should be relied upon as the team’s second best offensive weapon, behind wide receiver A.J. Green of course.
After the Bengals’ recent mock game, which was our first real chance to see the offense try and function in game situations, Mixon has been convinced that the Bengals’ offense will be one to watch this season.
This is the time for hyperbole in the NFL. Everyone is talking about how great or terrible teams will be next season.
Still, Mixon has a point as far as the talent the Bengals have. If everyone shows up to work, Cincinnati will have Mixon and Green leading the way, and playmakers like John Ross, Tyler Eifert and Tyler Boyd to take advantage of the defense paying less attention to them.
That isn’t even mentioning Giovani Bernard’s contributions as the second back on the team, or the improved offensive line under Frank Pollack.
The deciding things on how well the Bengals’ offense will perform in 2018 are pretty simple. Can Andy Dalton take advantage of having all these weapons around? Will the offensive line be improved enough to help open more holes for Mixon and give Dalton time?
One of the biggest may be if Ross can put an awful rookie season behind him. Mixon has an answer for that one though.
“John [Ross] is going to come along strong in this offense. I could put my life on it,” Mixon told Jeremy Rauch of Fox19 following the team’s mock game on Saturday.
As far as guarantees go, it doesn’t get more serious than that. Mixon’s voice of confidence comes at a great time as well. Ross has recently had some troubles with drops at camp, which coupled with the team parting ways with Brandon LaFell just last week, is not timely nor ideal.
Still, Mixon and Ross are very close. They were both drafted high by the Bengals in 2017 as the foundation of the team’s future offense. They have also spent time together this offseason as Mixon took part in Ross’ charity flag football game, so his confidence should be expected. However, it does show Mixon has a sense for being a leader with his timing.
The Bengals mock game had a few rough moments that have been highlighted. Whether it was Billy Price’s struggles with snapping the ball or Ross’ drops, the sirens seemed to have been ringing as of late. Mixon voicing how much he believes in this offense and Ross specifically is more of a call to slow the roll on burying this team already. It is still extremely early, and the Bengals have time to get this all worked out and back on track.
Considering Mixon has his own doubters to prove wrong, we should hope that his confidence will be rewarded in time.