The Bengals have talked about getting a contract extension done with running back Joe Mixon before the start of the 2020 season and they also have big ideas about how to use him during the season.
Mixon only had 101 carries and 320 carries midway through the 2019 season, but saw his usage spike over the second half of the season. He finished the year with 278 carries and 1,137 yards while also scoring all five of his rushing touchdowns over the second half of the season.
Offensive coordinator Brian Callahan saw the same results as everyone else and told the team’s website recently that the plan is to make heavier use of Mixon right out of the gate this season.
“He gets better as he gets more carries. As the season went along we got better getting him more touches,” Callahan said. “When he’s touching the ball 20 plus times, the total at the end of the game means his numbers are usually pretty good. He’s been very effective as far as just pure touches. Carries and catches. The more Joe touches the ball the better it is for our offense, without a doubt. All the ways we can find to get him the ball, the better it’s going to be.”
It’s always easier to pile on carries while playing from in front and that wasn’t something the Bengals did much of last season. If the arrival of quarterback Joe Burrow, return of wide receiver A.J. Green and addition of other players this offseason help on the scoreboard, Mixon could wind up as the first Bengals back with more than 300 carries since Cedric Benson in 2010.