Joe Mixon will have 1,400 yards from scrimmage in 2018
Running back Joe Mixon enters his second season in the NFL after a limited role in his rookie season. The 2017 second-round pick ran the ball 178 times for 626 yards and four touchdowns averaging 3.5 yards per carry. He added another 287 yards through the air on 30 catches. With his move to starting running back in 2018, Mixon will have a breakout season for the Bengals backfield.
Cincinnati had it’s worst rushing production in franchise history last season. Between the offensive line getting beat play after play resulting in running backs being met immediately by defenders and Bill Lazor rarely calling run plays, it was impossible to get anything going. The Bengals ranked 29th in rushing attempts last season, and that will change this year.
Lazor has already talked about implementing more Run-Pass Option plays (RPO’s) into the offense as part of his stamp on the playbook. These plays will dramatically improve the offense if quarterback Andy Dalton can prove successful at reading defenses. Forcing the defense to pause and react, Mixon and fellow running back Giovani Bernard will have more time before getting hit with defenders.
The offensive line has also improved with the additions of Price and Glenn especially. Price was a mauler in the run game at Ohio State and will bring more running lanes for the running backs in 2018, something that former center Russell Bodine struggled at. We will also see more plays lined up in shotgun which is where Mixon has success. Cincinnati didn’t utilize their running backs properly in 2017 treating Mixon and Bernard like former running back Jeremy Hill and having them run behind fullbacks.
Last but not least, Cincinnati looks to attack deep on offense this season and with playmakers like wide receiver A.J. Green and tight end Tyler Eifert returning, it could be fun to watch. There’s also the hope that wide receiver John Ross coming back healthy and having a full season to work on his technique could push the offense to new heights. The passing game would open up the run game, and Mixon has tendencies to make big plays in the passing game coming out of the backfield.
I expect by the end of the season for Mixon to have 1,400 plus all scrimmage yards. Expecting somewhere around 800 plus yards on the ground and another 600 in the air is not far-fetched. It’s adding another 200 yards to each of his stat lines from last season but in a more prominent role, behind a better line, and a more attacking offense.