It seems that message is not shared by all in the organization. The Bengals released their first depth chart of the year on Tuesday and Mixon isn’t listed as the top running back. Or the No. 2 back. Or the No. 3 back.
Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard and Cedric Peerman are listed on the top three rungs with Mixon ahead of three other backs in the “other” heading at the back of the line. Peerman is a special teams ace, but has six carries over the last two seasons so there’s not much reason to think that this depth chart is less an accurate portrayal of the pecking order on offense than it as a snapshot of which players have been in the NFL the longest.
If that’s going to change, Hill likely needs to be a lot more effective than he’s been while averaging under four yards per carry in each of the last two seasons while Mixon’s strong camp proves to be a mirage when faced with defenses wearing different uniforms.