Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Mixon May Get Career-High Touches
A foot injury in Week 6 ended Joe Mixon's season in 2020, but the 26-year-old running back is expected to get ample work in 2021.
The departure of Giovani Bernard to Tampa Bay in free agency leaves Mixon and Samaje Perine as Cincinnati's primary running backs. Although Perine may share third-down duties with Mixon, Offensive Coordinator Brian Callahan views Mixon as an every-down back.
"I don't want Joe to leave the field, personally, and I think he's up to that challenge," Callahan said on Cincinnati's WKRC, via 247sports.com. "He has some things he has to improve pass-protection-wise. Joe shouldn't come off the field, he should be on the field every down. He's aware of that."
Mixon had a career-high 278 rushing attempts in 2019, the second of his back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He is also a capable pass-catcher out of the backfield with 129 catches for five touchdowns over his four-year career.
Mixon has been a regular at OTAs, and while the addition of wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase and the Bengals' collection of talented wideouts has grabbed headlines, Head Coach Zac Taylor expects Mixon to be a huge part of the offense.
"I thought Joe was on pace for a really good year last year," Taylor said. "I was excited to see him in that 16 game season and it was cut short. Really excited to have him back fully healthy."
Cleveland Browns: Jarvis Landy Isn't Afraid to Talk Super Bowl
Cleveland Browns fans believe their team is a legitimate Super Bowl contender, and wide receiver Jarvis Landry is encouraging that talk.
More than 7,000 people came to Landry's celebrity softball game Saturday, including wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., quarterback Baker Mayfield and Kansas City Chiefs tight end and Cleveland native Travis Kelce. After the Browns made the playoffs in 2020 for the first time in 18 years, Landry said Cleveland should be talking Super Bowl.
"Why not?" Landry said via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. "It's something that people always say you should not talk about, but nobody trains and nobody does what they do to not be a champion. ... It's sick to be humble about what everybody is actually chasing."
Landry's belief in Cleveland is buoyed by the way Beckham looks following knee surgery. After working out with his friend and teammate last week in Austin, Texas, Landry says Beckham looks better than before the injury.
"Man, he looked amazing," Landry said via ESPN. "I can't wait for you guys to see him. He's in fantastic shape and he's ready to go. He's only what, 6 ½ months (beyond surgery) and he's already doing some things that will blow your mind away. ... He ran a post route, sticking off the same injured leg and making a catch doing his thing - what he does with one hand. You sit back and you're like, 'Wait, he's even better than he was last year.'"
The Browns will get an idea where they stand in the AFC in Week 1 when they visit the Chiefs, who have won back-to-back conference championships. Kelce says he buys the hype surrounding Cleveland.
"I would say they're definitely a contender, without a doubt," Kelce said. "Baker and the gang have upped the ante, made this team an unbelievable team and a team you have to prepare for and take serious. I think that moving forward without a doubt I can see a lot more playoff games between us."
Pittsburgh Steelers: Cam Heyward Took Lead Role in Pittsburgh's Reportedly High Vaccination Rate
The vaccination rate among NFL players will be a hot topic throughout the summer, especially after training camp begins. A recent article by Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated dug into the issue, examining how unvaccinated players will face more restrictions than those who have been vaccinated. Breer reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers had a vaccination rate of around 75 to 80 percent, one of the highest among NFL teams.
In April, veteran defensive lineman Cam Heyward released a video showing himself getting vaccinated and encouraged Steelers fans to follow suit.
It also got the attention of Steelers players when Head Coach Mike Tomlin revealed in February that he had been diagnosed with COVID-19, although his symptoms were minimal.
Tomlin has looked like his normally vibrant self during OTAs, even participating in some running back drills.