Many experts will tell you that it’s a Running Back by committee at best for Joe Mixon, or that he will play second fiddle to Jeremy Hill all year. Then, of course, you have to factor in Giovanni Bernard, the pass catching and change of pace back in Cincinnati, coming back from injury. Also, as I have been told so frequently, rarely do the Bengals turn to rookies in year one.
However, if you examine the head coaches record, the truth of the situation comes pouring out. Marvin Lewis’ record as a head coach is as follows:
- 118 wins to 103 losses and 3 ties.
- 4 division titles.
- 0 & 7 record in the playoffs.
This means it’s crunch year for the coach, and they took a huge risk drafting Joe Mixon who, for the purposes of this short article, made a bad life choice – hitting his ex-girlfriend and breaking her jaw. Most teams passed on Mixon due that although, arguably, he is the best talent at Running Back in the 2017 draft class. The Bengals didn’t pass, and that’s telling, however, when you examine the coach’s record it’s obvious why! It’s now or never for the coach. Another poor year will not be accepted so you could say it’s chips all in.
I really believe in Mixon, so much so that I honestly believe he’ll take the job quickly from Jeremy Hill and he is almost a complete back, however, there is one NFL stumbling block for him to overcome – pass blocking. He has to prove he can do it and it’s something that can, and would, hold him back if he can’t. Last year the Bengals gave up 41 sacks, that’s simply not good enough. Mixon’s talent is unquestionable. I believe he has turned his life around and now he needs to prove himself in the NFL. The route to opening the door is pass blocking. If he can gain the trust of both Quarterback Andy Dalton and the coaches, a Pro Bowl season is not out of the question.