The search for the next Sean McVay continues with Zac Taylor becoming the new HC and offensive play caller for the Bengals. He doesn’t have a ton of experience calling plays, and his numbers haven’t leapt off the page by any means when he did. The hope is that his two years in LA under McVay will significantly influence his offensive tendencies for 2019.
The biggest takeaway from McVay’s offense is his willingness to run in 11-personnel 90% of the time in the regular season. It was pretty similar for Cincinnati last year; they ran out of those 3-WR sets 75% of the time. And it makes sense, because they had the personnel for it. Tyler Boyd broke out last year, and could be one of the best slot WRs in the NFL if he continues doing what he was doing. Boyd had one of the best yards per route run and was PFF’s 11th highest graded WR overall last year; he also generated the highest passer rating when targeted in the entire league out of any WR with more than 80 targets. We should continue to see him in the slot next year. AJ Green and John Ross can obviously fill the outside roles, so there’s enough talent at WR to justify running a ton of 11-personnel.
The other appeal is Joe Mixon can see even less stacked boxes. The Rams were in 11-personnel on 83% of their runs last year, and as a result, Todd Gurley only saw 8+ defenders in the box on 8% of plays. Mixon’s encouraging 16% can get a little lower, although it’s really not needed, when other RBs with 200+ carries were seeing stacked boxes on an average of 23% of running plays last year. Gurley was 6th in targets at the position, and while we know Gio Bernard was a favorite of Marvin Lewis, there’s no word on whether he’ll still be the favorite on third downs. My guess is that he still will be, which will limit Mixon’s real potential of an every-down back. It’s still possible he increases his reception total of 43 significantly in 2019. It’s also possible Mixon is used as a true workhorse, and stays in on most third downs.
It’s tough to buy in to a coach who’s young and unproven, but at least we know that the offensive talent is there, and the principles of a dynamic offense will be attempted. Are you encouraged for Mixon, Green, and Boyd in 2019? It seems to me like drafting Boyd in the 5th round is money. Do you think they can all sustain great fantasy seasons, or does the discontinuity make you a bit nervous? Let me know!