At his current pace, Joe Mixon is set to touch the football an astounding 420 times by the end of this season. The Cincinnati Bengals’ offense is going to need to improve mightily if that is to be a successful strategy.
Mixon had another rough statistical outing Thursday night against the Dolphins, carrying the pigskin 24 times for only 61 yards, but head coach Zac Taylor doesn’t seem too concerned with where the running game is headed.
“Improving,” Taylor said of his rushing offense. “I like where our guys are at, they’re becoming in sync, they’re on the same page, it’s just sometimes we’re one block away. Sometimes it can be a guy that we can’t get to at receiver because of his location, sometimes it can be a right tackle, left tackle, it’s just kind of a different thing each play as we run right, run left, run the different schemes.”
Yes, a perfectly successful run play requires all blocks to be executed accordingly, but that just doesn’t happen all the time. Defenses are going to win blocks and not allow much movement. For the Bengals, too many blocks are being missed, and Mixon is either the product of bad blocking, or the clear culprit for not making the most of what’s given to him.
It’s a back and forth struggle between two areas of trouble, but don’t expect Taylor to give up on the plan his team has in place.
“Just liked we talked about the first two weeks of the season,” Taylor said. “I’m not going to overthink it, and trust those guys that we’re coming along and that we’ve got a good chance to be really good there in the run game.”
With a weekend off to look things over, this could be an inflection point for the offensive line and Mixon. The line has achieved rare continuity for the Bengals’ standards, which bodes well for them gelling together as the season progresses. We’ve seen shades of vintage Mixon at times this year, and more consistent blocking can fully unlock his talent.
It’ll need to happen if the offense as a whole plan to achieve the standard they’ve set.