John Ross, Joe Mixon still getting up to speed as Bengals offense makes changes


John Ross, Joe Mixon still getting up to speed as Bengals offense makes changes

As reporters asked John Ross and Joe Mixon what kinds of changes they anticipate in the Bengals offense with Bill Lazor taking over, a realization soon emerged. 

Cincinnati’s first two draft picks from last spring haven’t even been around long enough to feel like they know what to expect regardless of who is the team’s offensive coordinator. 

That’s a bit ironic since one of the complaints about Ken Zampese, who was fired last week and replaced by Lazor, was that his game plans weren’t using those two potential playmakers correctly. 

Regardless, the move from Zampese to Lazor is just add one more mystery for the new guys to unlock. 

“Everything is new to me,” said Ross, the first-round pick from Washington who missed much of the offseason program and the Week 1 loss to Baltimore with injuries. “I’m still learning so I’m just trying to get everything down.

“The way I simplify things is different from how they’re thinking. I just know what I can control. I’m still in the playbook and I simplify things in a different way.” 

He only had one touch in Week 2, and it ended in disaster: A fumble recovered by the Texans. 

Meanwhile, Mixon carried the ball 17 times for 45 yards and caught four passes for 20 yards in the first two games. 

He is part of a three-man running back rotation that also includes veterans Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard, who have 12 carries apiece this season. 

Mixon, too, sounded ready for anything when asked about his role as the team prepares to face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. 

“We’re coming in, trying to attack practice,” Mixon said. “Coaches have changed a few things. Not too much. As players we’re just taking responsibility when we’re not in practice or mandatory meetings, we’re actually taking that extra step of studying with more of our guys trying to break things down.” 

For Ross, the change at the top might not make his acclimatization to the offense any more difficult. 

“You’ve got to be like a playbook junky as a young guy who doesn’t know anything,” Ross said. “You’ve got to sit there and look at it even when you don’t want to, just spend extra time.

“It’s all starting to slow down for me, which is a good thing. When I first got here it was like a race car. Now it’s much slower.”  

Meanwhile, the Bengals hope Lazor can rev up the offense after a plodding start.

How much Ross and Mixon are part of that may be on them as much as him. 

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