The Cincinnati Bengals offense looked alive against the New York Jets on Sunday, putting up 27 points in their first win of the season. However, one part of the offense remains a question mark.
Running back Joe Mixon had a breakout year in 2021, totaling 1,205 yards on 292 carries (4.1 yards per touch) with 13 touchdowns. The running game set up everything else for quarterback Joe Burrow to find his favorite receiving targets, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, among others.
Through three games this season, it’s been a chore for Mixon to get positive yardage. Against the Jets, he carried the ball 12 times for 24 yards, while catching three balls on seven targets for 14 yards.
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Mixon is averaging just 2.8 yards per carry so far this season (163 yards on 58 attempts) and has not found the end zone. But offensive coordinator Brian Callahan says he’s not worried at all about the Pro Bowl return.
At least, not yet.
“I think you’re going to see improvement from him,” Callahan said, via Cleveland.com . “He’s going to run for a ton of yards because he’s going to have a lot of opportunities to do that.”
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Callahan’s confidence comes from what he’s been seeing on film, not necessarily the stat sheet.
“We look at all of our inefficient runs every week and what’s the reasoning behind it, and we had a zero gain or a negative gain,” Callahan said. “The thing you take away from seeing them all is that there’s always someone somewhere. There’s no constant problem.”
The Bengals offensive line has been a problem so far this season in both the running and passing games. Burrow has had to avoid tons of pressure and still has been sacked a league-high 15 times (tied with Carson Wentz of the Washington Commanders).
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Mixon gets a chance Thursday night to prove naysayers wrong and help his fantasy owners in the process as he goes against a Miami Dolphins team that has allowed 116 yards per game on the ground this season.
As Callahan said, Mixon will get his opportunities.
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“I’m not really worried about Joe that much at this point,” Callahan said.