Joe Mixon, AJ Green, and Andy Dalton Rising with Bill Lazor's Surging Offense - Roto Street Journal
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Joe Mixon, AJ Green, and Andy Dalton Rising with Bill Lazor’s Surging Offense

Though we entered 2018 down on the Bengals offense as a whole, the unit looked downright explosive in their Preseason Opener. The first-team offense posted two 1st Quarter TDs while moving the ball with ease, ultimately winning a 30-27 contest against the Bears. After taking over the as OC in Week 3 last season, Bill Lazor seems fully settled in and is putting his stamp on the attack — and the results showed. AJ Green, Joe Mixon, and even Penny Stocks John Ross and Andy Dalton all rise with the “Coaching Scheme” and “Surrounding Talent” boosts, especially along the line.

On Thursday, the Bengals flashed creativity, aggressiveness, and pace we haven’t seen out of Cincinnati in quite some time. Bill Lazor, who coached alongside Chip Kelly as his QBs coach, seems to finally have found his play-calling groove, as does Dalton within the scheme, as the Red Rifle went 6/8, 103 yds, 2 TDs while tossing an INT on a slip from John Ross (116.7 Passer Rating). With the OC and QB clicking, this offense seems primed for a sturdy leap forward in 2018, as do the two key cogs inside it in AJ Green and Joe Mixon, who both looked flatout dominant.

Green caught Dalton’s first pass, a short crossing out to the left, and galloped upfield for an impressive 22-catch-and-run. The two also connected on a beautiful contested back-shoulder throw for a 26-yard gain, and look in midseason form already.

Meanwhile, Mixon looks to be used more creatively in Year 2. On his 24-yard TD reception, Mixon was split out wide, taking a short dump off to the house by shedding two tackles — one with a slippery stiff arm, and another with an even more impressive spin move, before darting upfield for the score. Though the run lanes were unimpressive, this type of creative usage will undoubtedly help Mixon find space, where his elite lateral agility makes him insanely dangerous. He rises from 35 overall up a tier to No.29 on my latest Big Board.

Dalton himself needs to be on the late round QB radar, and is yet another shining example of why you need to wait on the position. Meanwhile, former first-round WR Ross flashed his huge play ability on a wildly impressive catch-and-run, and has a clear path to targets as the obvious No.2 with Brandon LaFell removed. All parties should benefit from a beefed up offensive line, sporting new LT Cordy Glenn from the Browns and first-round rookie center Billy Price.

When asked about the offense, Dalton was full of praise for Lazor, noting, “We wanted to come in and march the ball downfield and score and that’s what we did… that’s what we see everyday in practice.” It’s time to reconsider these Bengals, especially if the offensive outpours continue all preseason.

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