Bengals likely to 'stick with' the hot hand at running back

Nobody can pin down exactly how the Bengals’ rotation of running backs Giovani Bernard, Jeremy Hill and Joe Mixon will look in its debut Sunday against Baltimore.

The coaching staff stayed understandably tight-lipped and players are adopting the do-what-I’m-asked mentality. Jeremy Hill is listed as the starter and expected to start. Signs point to Giovani Bernard continuing to hold down his role on third downs.

What we do know is the team won’t be sacrificing creating a flow in order to distribute the perfect amount of touches. Allowing each player to find a rhythm tops the priority list.

“The flow is more important than the touches,” running backs coach Kyle Caskey said. “You see it in the preseason when we are forced to put guys in because we want to get them playing time. We are more worried about touches in the preseason and play numbers and play counts. In the regular season we are more worried about production and winning.”

We will learn much more about the Bengals approach to this rotation coming out of the opener, but it’s fair to say even the team can’t say for sure how the touches will unfold.

“You plan initially for it and try to put guys in the right places for what their talents can do and once the game gets going there is a flow to it,” Caskey said. “If a guy does have a little juice to him at that time then you stick with him.”

Fantasy Impact: 

Mixon is a dicey start in Week 1 since Hill is still technically the starter and Bernard is a good player who will get some work as well. The expectation is that Mixon will eventually earn starter's touches, but of the notable rookie running backs -- Kareem Hunt, Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey -- Mixon's early-season role is the most murky.

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