A glance around the NFL world may show you that there isn’t a ton of confidence in the Cincinnati Bengals heading in to the 2022 season. Despite being one drive shy of a Super Bowl, there has been a lot of talk about division rivals taking the crown and the word “fluke” has been used far too many times for any Bengal fan to like.
One person not lacking confidence, however is running back Joe Mixon.
"We might be the hottest thing smokin' in the NFL."— Jeremy Rauch (@FOX19Jeremy) June 26, 2022
Smokin' Joe Mixon brought the heat in his first interview since the Super Bowl.
(Thanks for assist while Mixon was back home, @CharlieWalterTV) #Bengals @fox19 @Joe_MainMixon pic.twitter.com/ewWaNkd7iF
Mixon also mentioned that he thinks the Bengals were, “a year early,” an opinion that isn’t far fetched. Heading into the 2021 season, it was hard to find someone predicting an AFC Championship for a team coming off of a combined six wins in the prior two seasons. Add in the fact that franchise quarterback Joe Burrow had his rookie season cut short by a knee injury, many though a playoff berth was the ceiling for the campaign.
Obviously, the Bengals surpassed all expectations and put the league on notice but for whatever reason, it has been hard to find anyone in the national media who expects to see them back on the big stage this coming season.
Belief in the locker room will always mean more than outside noise and this team blocked out all outside noise last year, so who says they can’t do it again? With a tight-knit team who certainly believes they belong, Mixon being a believer undoubtedly doesn’t put him in the minority at One Paul Brown Stadium Way.
Mixon is set to begin his sixth season behind what should be the best offensive line he’s had and as a player who has been a great presence in the locker room, it is safe to say he’s speaking for the entire team.