One thing you have to love about Joe Mixon. He is not afraid to share his opinions.
Back in 2019, when Zac Taylor was hired and Frank Pollack was not retained. Mixon came out and expressed his displeasure immediately in the form of a tweet.
And when it was announced Pollack was returning, Mixon was... happy, to say the least.
Ahhhh!!!! Let’s go!!!! It’s A Great Day To Be A Bengal!!! #WhoDey— ⚡️Primetime!!!⚡️ (@Joe_MainMixon) January 9, 2021
And the running back couldn’t keep his excitement to himself, reportedly “hooting and hollering” when talking to franchise quarterback Joe Burrow about the signing:
I think everybody was really excited when we hired coach Pollack - Joe Mixon called me hooting and hollering about it. - Joe Burrow— Lindsay Patterson (@LndsPatterson) January 12, 2021
He also told the Enquirer’s Tyler Dragon:
“I am super excited for coach Pollack to be back... He’s proven he’s the best in the business. There are a lot of records to be broken. I’m looking forward to getting back on the field and getting to work.”
And all of this is for good reason.
Mixon had a career year under Pollack, as he hit career highs in a number of important categories in 2018. He totaled 1,168 yards and 8 touchdowns on the ground on a robust 4.9 yards per carry. He added another 296 yards through the air. Still only 24 years old, Mixon is due for a bounce-back year after missing 10 games and averaging only 3.6 yards per carry last year.
So why does Pollack help Mixon? The o-line coach’s wide zone scheme gives Mixon the opportunity to make decisions and cuts that can turn into big gains, as Matt Minich demonstrated in his recent film room article. And John Sheeran said the following in the video below: “Mixon is a zone go through and through. He loves to cut it back, and he loves to get up the field and work off of his blockers.”
“The wide zone scheme allows you to maximize running lanes. It’s a stretch run that allows you to take advantage of the defense and makes them wrong. They can never be right if you’re doing it the correct way... It’s something that really allows you to have more margin for error whether the back can make the line or a lineman correct or vise versa, I think it adds a little more flexibility in that regard and I think it promotes a unit to play better. When I say unit, offense, running back, everyone included. And if you’ve got talent, it makes it that much better and efficient.”
As Dragon points out, zone blocking on stretch runs maximizes what Mixon does well, which is attacking the edges.
Pollack is also excited about working with Mixon again. He told Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson: “[Mixon] brings a lot juice and energy... He’s a damn good player... He’s a violent, physical runner who plays the game with a lot of passion... That was a lot of fun to be around a couple of years ago and I’m looking forward to coaching him again.”
Who can forget when Pollack returned to Paul Brown Stadium in 2019 as the o-line coach of the Jets, and Mixon gave him the ball from his five-yard touchdown. The running back says he could see some tears in Pollack’s eyes.
You can watch our analysis of how Pollack’s return will impact Mixon’s play in the video below:
You can also listen on iTunes or using the player below: