Joe Mixon: Bengals' offense will be 'nightmare' for D

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With A.J. Green expected to miss regular-season games, Joe Mixon's importance to the Cincinnati Bengals' offense could escalate even further.

The running back, who ranked fourth in rushing in 2018 (1,168 yards) despite missing two games, believes the offense under new coach Zac Taylor sets up better to take advantage of his skill set.

"Schematically, you know Coach Taylor has come in, the way he's got it set up, it's crazy," Mixon said, via the Dayton Daily News. "It's night and day from what everyone has seen these past years from the old Bengals. Coach Taylor, he's got it where it's going to be a nightmare for the defense. I look forward to it. Everybody has to take it upon themselves to be the best of themselves in this offense. You can count on the people and leaders out there to deliver."

A dual-threat who could be used more in the passing game, Mixon combines the shiftiness to make defenders miss in a phone booth, speed to the edge, and doesn't avoid contact. When healthy he is a game-altering talent.

In Taylor's offense, Mixon points to Todd Gurley's production with the Rams -- where Taylor worked the past two seasons -- as to what we can expect from him in 2019.

"The film speaks for itself," Mixon said. "You see the Rams running wild all day. We've got that same offense. I would think we have better players than them with these offensive weapons. I would think we can do the same stuff, if not more, than they can."

We'll demur with Mixon's boast on having better talent than the Rams overall, but to each player his own biased assessment.

The reality of the Bengals' situation is that the team will need Mixon to carry a heavy load to be successful in 2019. He's already done yeoman's work in his first two seasons. Mixon is one of 18 players in NFL history with 400-plus carries before age 23 -- list includes six Hall of Famers (Jim Brown, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Jerome Bettis, Marshall Faulk) and other notables such as Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley, Le'Veon Bell, Marshawn Lynch and Edgerrin James.

"(I will do) as much as I've got to do, individually and as a team to put ourselves on top," Mixon said. "If it takes 250 (carries), I'm going to take 250. If it takes 400, that's what I'm going to get. At the end of the day every touch counts. ... I've always been a one-play-away guy until I just break and I'll continue to do that. If it takes 400 touches, then that's what I'm going to want."

Given the offense Taylor is expected to run, Green's injury, and Mixon's talent, the running back is in line to get a boatload of touches in 2019. Staying healthy is the biggest obstacle to Mixon having a huge season.

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