Tomlin: Joe Mixon ‘Appears To Be A Featured Runner Type’

While the Pittsburgh Steelers might be feeling pretty good about themselves at the moment after taking down the final unbeaten team in the NFL, they know that they can’t rest on their laurels any time soon. Their next opponent is one that is about as familiar as they get—and yet, as Head Coach Mike Tomlin explains, not.

We’ve got AFC North ball, the Cincinnati Bengals coming in, and we know what that means, we know the significance of this rivalry”, he said while discussing the upcoming game yesterday during his press conference. “We know where they are in their season. They got off to a slow start; they made necessary adjustments”.

He also understands that they are heading into this game with a bit of an advantage, as well as momentum. “They’re marching and marching fast in a hurry. They had an opportunity to gather themselves last week with a bye”, he told reporters. “We understand and respect what that is. A team gets an opportunity to take a step back and look at themselves and maybe look at you and prepare for you”.

But for as familiar as they might be with the Bengals, Tomlin also understands that there are some things, especially on offense, that are different, that are variables that they can’t fully account for yet. He talked about having just three games’ body of work watching them under Bill Lazor’s offense as the new play-caller, for example.

“They’ve got some new components to the equation that make preparation more difficult for us, not only in terms of their playcalling but just significant pieces to the puzzle”, he added. “What’s going on on offense with Joe Mixon and how he’s being utilized I think is a significant element of the equation for us”.

The Bengals’ second-round draft pick, Mixon has slowly become the featured runner in a crowded backfield filled with second-rounders. He has 67 carries through the first five games, with at least 15 in each of the past three.

“I think it’s been a significant element of the equation for them”, he said of figuring out the juggling of the backfield. “Oftentimes when you have a plethora of talent it takes some time to sort out a division of labor”.

“Defining the division of labor between Hill and Bernard and Mixon, I’m seeing the picture become clearer now the more games they play”, he went on. “Mixon appears to be a featured runner type. We’ve got to acclimate ourselves to him and his running style and minimize his impact on the game”.

Still, it’s been tough sledding for the rookie, averaging just 2.8 yards per rush so far, with one touchdown. He also has 11 receptions for another 78 yards.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Sam Clonch

    Just looked up Cincy’s OL stats, and they aren’t doing as bad as I thought they would in pass pro, considering they lost 2 top linemen. 27th in QB hits (Steelers #24), 16th in sacks allowed (Steelers #25). They’re god awful in run blocking it seems though, 30th in total yards, 31st in yards per carry.

  • John Pennington

    If Mixon runs at Burns I bet Burns gets out of his way and never tackles him at all in this game.He will fall to the ground and not help at all against the run and the coaching staff wont do or say anything to him.Burns is the weakest link against the run and the Bengals will run his way to make him tackle knowing he cant and wont do his job.

  • nutty32

    Jeremy Hill’s running style and Alex Erickson returns still present the biggest concerns for me. Of course, we have to pound AJ Green a few times early so he’ll quit playing or wanting the ball per usual.

  • nutty32

    Mixon looks like he still hasn’t fully adjusted to the NFL & runs tentative between the tackles picking his way through. He does show his natural talents when he gets a lane to the outside and can be dangerous & slash with power & Shiftiness.

    TE Kroft looks very capable subbing for Eiferts. Daulton panics & sucks as a decision maker when forced to read but able with quick throws & zone read play action quick throws.

    The Bengal D played a lot of 8 man looks v. Shaddy and should continue.

    Overall, the team’s body language doesn’t look great, not a bunch of winners.