3. Chris Evans
The rookie sixth-round pick from Michigan has played sparingly in the first half of the season. That’s not an altogether bad thing, as that means Joe Mixon has been healthy. A healthy Mixon by any measure is key to a playoff push, but what of Evans?
I’m not suggesting Chris Evans cut into Mixon’s workload, or even Samaje Perine for that matter, but when he has been given opportunities, Evans has flashed, particularly as a receiver.
As stated previously, a healthy Joe Mixon is needed for the stretch, but the task ahead of Zac Taylor and company SHOULD be to scheme ways to get the ball in Evans’ hands out of the backfield. At 5’11”, 210 Evans is a load to bring down and possesses soft hands and deceptively good speed.
The two-game losing streak seems to have exposed the Bengals offense somewhat as teams are figuring out how to at least slow Ja’Marr Chase. While there are ample weapons at receiver, why not incorporate more of Evans on wheel routes and screen passes?
The fresher the Bengals can keep Joe Mixon for December the better, and giving opposing defensive coordinators one more problem to scheme for in Evans would seem only logical. Football is a war of attrition and usually, the healthy teams survive.
Cincinnati should spread the load just a bit by rolling the fresh legs of Evans out for the winter playoff push.