Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Mixon will be the face of the offense in 2019
Look for the offense of the Cincinnati Bengals to run through running back Joe Mixon, not Andy Dalton.
It isn’t complicated for the Cincinnati Bengals and first-year head coach Zac Taylor. It’s not long-division either or some unsolvable riddle. For the Bengals to have a chance at breaking out in 2019, running back Joe Mixon is the guy that accomplishes that. To be even more clear, the offense won’t run through quarterback Andy Dalton. It runs through Mixon.
If the Los Angeles Rams are the template fans in Cincinnati want to use when looking to their rookie head coach, then they need to look further at what the Rams did. Meaning that as All Everything running back Todd Gurley is to the Rams, Mixon will be, needs to be, for the Bengals.
To be more specific, In LA, quarterback Jared Goff was the facilitator, whereas Gurley was the straw that stirs the drink.
Mixon knows this, and he also knows that like his contemporary in Los Angeles, he too could find himself on the brink of a breakout kind of season. The kind that could change his career and puts him on the MVP stage. In LA, head coach Sean McVay was the gatekeeper to MVP talk for Gurley. In Cincinnati, Mixon could realize the same under Taylor.
All that said, the potential for Mixon this season is significant. Especially if he finds himself as a receiver out of the backfield. That is something Gurley excelled at in LA. In 2018, Gurley was targeted 81 times for 580 yards and four touchdowns. That’s remarkable production.
Mixon was behind that pace with 55 targets for 296 yards and 1 touchdown. It’s not hard to see why he’s so exciting to work in an offensive system that features the running back the way Los Angeles has. That kind of running back production in Cincinnati changes the entire offensive dynamic. Dalton is no longer the centerpiece, Mixon is.
For fans, the potential of a Mixon centric offense should be exciting. It opens up the passing game for a receiving corp that could excel beyond what the Bengals and Dalton have known.
Taylor has the kind of running back that makes things interesting. It also changes a game plan that had Dalton as the one player who had to carry the load. In a Taylor offense, he doesn’t have to. That’s Mixon’s job now.