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Bengals' Joe Mixon says he can handle 400 carries

By
Alex Butler
Cincinnati Bengals halfback Joe Mixon (28) says I'm trying to be in the best shape to be able to handle that load because it's not easy. File Photo by John Sommers II/UPI
Cincinnati Bengals halfback Joe Mixon (28) says "I'm trying to be in the best shape to be able to handle that load because it's not easy." File Photo by John Sommers II/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon has been working out this offseason, trying to get in good enough shape to carry the ball 25 times per game in 2019.

That equates to exactly 400 carries over a 16-game season, a number approached just twice this century.

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"I'm trying to be in the best shape to be able to handle that load because it's not easy. I know I could do it," Mixon told Bengals.com. "You always have to expect it. Even if it doesn't happen, you have to always expect it. And I always try to do whatever I can to maximize my ability. I feel like with what I can do, I should be able to do that easily."

Mixon, 22, had 1,168 yards and eight scores on 237 carries in 14 games in 2018, his second season since being selected in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Mixon carried 178 times during his rookie campaign. The Oklahoma product also had 296 yards and a score on 43 receptions in 2018.

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The Bengals have revamped the coaching staff this offseason, firing Marvin Lewis and bringing in former Los Angeles Rams quarterback coach Zac Taylor as head coach and former Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Brian Callahan for the same role.

Taylor worked as an assistant wide receivers coach in his first season with the Rams in 2017 under Sean McVay. He helped build an offense around star running back Todd Gurley, who was an All-Pro twice during that time frame. Gurley also led the NFL with 31 rushing scores during that time, but never eclipsed the 300-carry plateau.

Larry Johnson was the last player to carry 400 times, when he set the NFL record with 416 totes in 2006. Eddie George had 403 carries for the 2000 Tennessee Titans.

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Mixon said his large workload and production would open up the play-action passing game for quarterback Andy Dalton, wide receiver A.J. Green and the Bengals' other pass-catchers.

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