The Bengals like what they have seen from Joe Mixon, and Marvin Lewis isn’t shy about sharing the fact that the rookie running back will get plenty of chances this season.
“His personality, his work ethic, how he comes and approaches practice every day,” Lewis said, via Geoff Hobson of the team website. “From the very first rookie camp here in Cincinnati, you felt that, but you aren’t sure because it’s a very limited exposure. Now that’s a day-to-day thing with the ups and downs in camp — being tired, being asked to run and finish every play. He likes to do that. He likes to run down that field like he is scoring a touchdown, and we are going to give him a lot of opportunities to do that. That’s just part of his makeup, and that’s good. He can never lose that. That’s the other part of it; you don’t want him to lose that. I hope he keeps that enthusiasm that he has now.”
Jeremy Hill was the Bengals’ leading rusher last season, with 222 carries for 839 yards and nine touchdowns. Mixon could get more chances this season than Hill did last season. But Cincinnati wants to find out how good Mixon is at picking up the blitz, which they will start discovering this week.
“He’s very natural at the other stuff, and then he is going to get an opportunity to protect the quarterback,” Lewis said. “The rest of the stuff he does very naturally, like running or catching. But [I want to see] his pad level, and making sure his tracks are correct. Those are the things we are going to continue to evaluate and make sure he gets up to speed on and stays consistent. So far, he has been very good with that, and I don’t expect that to change.”