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Thread: Bengals RB battle: Joe Mixon will scale Jeremy Hill even Sooner than expected

  1. #1

    Bengals RB battle: Joe Mixon will scale Jeremy Hill even Sooner than expected

    Bengals RB battle: Joe Mixon will scale Jeremy Hill even Sooner than expected


    July 15, 2017 9:05am EDTJuly 15, 2017 9:01am EDTWith issues plaguing Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard, Joe Mixon should carve out an immediate big role in Cincinnati's backfield.
    Joe Mixon(Getty Images)


    Vinnie Iyer @vinnieiyer

    Published on Jul. 15, 2017




    The best way for the Bengals to cool their controversial drafting of Joe Mixon will be watching him heat up training camp. With different issues plaguing their top two incumbent backs, Mixon has a great chance to carve out an immediate big role.

    For the past three seasons, Cincinnati has relied on the committee of Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard, to mixed health and results. Hill, drafted in the second round in 2014, has been the team's leading rusher in that span as the power back replacement for BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

    Hill dominated as a rookie at 5.1 yards per carry, but with near-exact workloads (222, 223 and 233 carries), he's maintained only his TDs since, as that number has plummeted to 3.7. Beyond being banged up, Hill hasn't been able to find the same mojo as a strong downhill runner. He's played through injuries to his chest, shoulder and knee, missing his first NFL game in Week 17 of 2017 with the knee injury.

    Unfortunately, Bernard, after a great rebound season in 2015 with a new contract to match, suffered a much worse knee injury last season — a torn ACL that kept him out of the team's final six games. He's still on the mend, with only limited non-practice work at OTAs and an uncertain timetable to return.

    Although most of the NFL could afford to take Mixon off its boards with more settled veteran backfields, Cincinnati's pick was more of a necessity than luxury. The Bengals are such a dedicated rushing team that the inefficiency of the past two years — despite high volume — was a big reason for the team's fade from the playoffs.


    IYER: Bengals can't and shouldn't hide from Joe Mixon pick

    Already offsetting the risk of MIxon is the base reward. At worst, with Bernard not close to seeing action, Mixon will provide the pop on third downs. He's an explosive receiver who can also thrive in pass protecting for Andy Dalton. Mixon's speed and quickness can match a healthy Bernard, and it comes from a bigger frame.

    Mixon has boomed in OTA and minicamp practices, with Dalton and others praising his versatility. The early NFL knock on Mixon was his conditioning, a point of contention for the Bengals after Hill has struggled to stay in ideal shape. Mixon responded by working and running harder, including getting in some extra training sessions with fellow former Sooner Adrian Peterson.

    The Bengals should feel comfortable calling upon Mixon to do everything in camp. Bernard can't do anything at the moment about the rookie's upward trajectory in the passing game. Hill's biggest edge over Mixon is experience, and through all his woes, Hill has come through in short-yardage and goal-line situations.

    Hill can hold off Mixon for early-down work, but it will take him having the best camp since he was an exciting rookie second-rounder. Mixon is used to being a "change of pace" committee guy after sharing carries with Samaje Perine at Oklahoma, but he is trending toward proving he's a capable three-down back.

    MORE: NFL's most hated players

    Mixon will eat up Bernard's touches, and it shouldn't take long to see that Hill should be relegated more to red zone situations. The Bengals have been a bit predictable with the usage of Hill and Bernard, and featuring Mixon to keep defenses guessing is the only way to change that. Bernard, when he returns, can still serve as a good swing backup.

    The Bengals' offensive line also took two major hits with left tackle Andrew Whitworth (Rams) and right guard Kevin Zeitler (Browns) finding new homes in free agency. The holes won't be as easy for Hill of find. That's another thing that favors Mixon, who has more burst to make chunk runs with limited blocking help.



    Mixon was only a bad pick from a PR standpoint, but the positive vibes with him on and off the field since should please the Bengals.
    He'll take that obliging to a higher level in the preseason, ready to lead the team in backfield touches come Week 1.


    http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/news...o19us6oplaudmy





  2. #2
    Reason #46 Why I hate the Offseason.

    Too many articles hyping fake roster battles between players who aren't really competing for playing time.

    To Vinnie Iyers credit he seems to understand how pointless it would be to write a story documenting the RB battle between a rookie who has never played before and an injured veteran who currently can't play at all.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by HOF View Post
    Reason #46 Why I hate the Offseason.

    Too many articles hyping fake roster battles between players who aren't really competing for playing time.

    To Vinnie Iyers credit he seems to understand how pointless it would be to write a story documenting the RB battle between a rookie who has never played before and an injured veteran who currently can't play at all.
    Huh?

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason_NC View Post
    Huh?
    Do you really think Mixon is competing with Hill for the feature back role already? Or is it more accurate to conclude, as writer Vinnie Iyer did, that Mixon's early playing time won't be earned by head-to-head competition with Hill, but rather...is there for the taking simply because Gio is injured.

    IMO the headline is misleading...perhaps deliberately, but the article itself mostly gets it right.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by HOF View Post
    Do you really think Mixon is competing with Hill for the feature back role already? Or is it more accurate to conclude, as writer Vinnie Iyer did, that Mixon's early playing time won't be earned by head-to-head competition with Hill, but rather...is there for the taking simply because Gio is injured.

    IMO the headline is misleading...perhaps deliberately, but the article itself mostly gets it right.
    No. But only because training camp hasn't started.

    If Mixon is anywhere near as good as he is supposed to be (the only OU game I saw recently was against OSU last year) then he'd better be.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason_NC View Post
    No. But only because training camp hasn't started.
    Training camp? Well, I don't agree but I do applaud your restraint.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by HOF View Post
    Do you really think Mixon is competing with Hill for the feature back role already? Or is it more accurate to conclude, as writer Vinnie Iyer did, that Mixon's early playing time won't be earned by head-to-head competition with Hill, but rather...is there for the taking simply because Gio is injured.

    IMO the headline is misleading...perhaps deliberately, but the article itself mostly gets it right.
    I do think Mixon is competing head to head with Hill for the feature back role. And I like his chances.

    I think Week 1 vs. Baltimore, Mixon leads the Bengals in carries.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by happyrid View Post
    I do think Mixon is competing head to head with Hill for the feature back role. And I like his chances.

    I think Week 1 vs. Baltimore, Mixon leads the Bengals in carries.
    Agree, especially since Mixon will likely get the majority of 3rd down snaps. Not only is he good out of the backfield, but he's considered to be unusually good in pass protection. At least as far as rookie backs go.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by dex View Post
    Agree, especially since Mixon will likely get the majority of 3rd down snaps. Not only is he good out of the backfield, but he's considered to be unusually good in pass protection. At least as far as rookie backs go.
    Yeah, I also remember Bratkowski mentioning pre-draft about how when they went back and looked at what went wrong and right on offense in 2016, they found that their run/pass ratio was a little too predictable based upon personnel. And then he talked about how having a RB who could excel at both would help in that regard.

    I think that's why Mixon is going to run away with the starting job. Because they can keep him in there and have that run/pass unpredictability with a guy who can excel at both vs. rotating two guys who kind of specialize in one or the other.

  10. #10
    You know you don’t take a running back in the second round and put him on the shelf,” said Hill. “Obviously Joe is gonna get his carries, and they extended Gio, so he’s gonna obviously get his play too.

    “For me, really, I can’t focus on all of those things. For me, the best-case scenario is I win the job and get the bulk load of the carries, and that’s what I’m preparing myself for, and we’ll just go from there. I think the sky's the limit for our offense.”

    Hill is keeping a positive outlook, and says having Mixon and Bernard sharing the rushing workload will keep him durable for the entire season.

    “We have so much talent on our offense,” said Hill. “I think for us, it’s gonna take everybody (for it to work). And I think, as selfish as it may sound, for me, I think having those guys spelling me is gonna benefit me in the long run, as far as longevity, so I’m not worried about that at all.”

    Saying this, Hill sees a world of potential in Mixon and can’t wait to see the rookie blossom on the field.

    “Joe is gonna be a great player in this league,” said Hill. “Obviously there’s no denying that, and there’s no faking that. He’s gonna be a great player. He’s obviously young, but he’s gonna make a ton of plays for our football team, and I’m excited to see him go out there and do that.”



    https://www.cincyjungle.com/2017/7/1...t-play-bengals





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