Bengals RB Zack Moss Opens Up About Replacing Joe Mixon, Splitting Carries With Chase Brown

How Bengals running backs Zack Moss and Chase Brown split carries in 2024 remains to be seen, but Moss said he's excited to see it shake out.

CINCINNATI – Last season, the Cincinnati Bengals were the only team in the NFL that didn’t have multiple running backs with at least 49 carries, a paltry total that equates to an average of a little more than two per game.

This year, Cincinnati could be out of the running for repeating that stat by the end of October.

By trading Joe Mixon, who logged 257 of the team’s 318 rushing attempts (81%) by running backs, the Bengals are expected to have a more balanced split in 2024.

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Cincinnati signed Zack Moss in free agency to pair with 2023 fifth-round pick Chase Brown (44 carries as a rookie) as the primary ball carriers.

How exactly the carries (and snaps) will be split is unknown, but Moss said he’s excited to find out the answer.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Moss said Tuesday after the team’s first OTA practice. “I love seeing what Chase is doing already. He has a chance to do a lot of good things in this league, and they’re gonna put him in great positions. My job is to help him as much as I can, and vice-versa, and try to be the best tandem we can be and win games. That’s really all that matters.”

Head coach Zac Taylor said he’s also excited to see Moss and Brown play off each other once training camp begins and the Bengals can do more work specific to the run game.

“They’re really strong in a lot of different areas — and similar areas. There’s a lot of crossover there,” Taylor said. “I’m excited about the mix that we have in the running back room and what we’ve done in the offseason to bring Zack into the fold. I think we’re in a good spot there.

“I think training camp will be fun to really evaluate those guys.”

The last time the Bengals had multiple running backs with at least 100 carries in a season was 2020, when Mixon missed the final 10 games with a foot injury and had just 119 carries to Giovani Bernard’s 124.

The only other time it happened during Mixon’s tenure was his rookie season when Bernard had 105.

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That heavy reliance on Mixon, along with his infectious exuberance and four 1,000-yard seasons, made him a fan — and Moss — favorite. And Moss admits he feels some pressure replacing someone of Mixon’s stature.

“I’ve never been in this position before where you come in after a guy who’s had so much success and meant so much to the fan base,” Moss said. “I remember watching Joe when I was in college. It’s definitely big shoes to fill. But I have to just go out and do my job. And whatever my job looks like, that’s what I’m gonna try to do.”

 

The unknown when it comes to a player’s role can be unsettling for some, but Moss said he isn’t unconcerned. The 2020 third-round pick split carries during his two-plus seasons in Buffalo and, after being traded, for a season-and-a-half in Indianapolis.

Moss never had more than 115 carries in a season before last year, when he rushed 183 times for the Colts due to Jonathan Taylor missing seven games because of injury.

“Most of my career, I’ve pretty much split time with somebody else,” Moss said. “I think that’s where the league is right now. You really only have two or three guys who are predominantly in the backfield by themselves and taking all those carries.

“I never worry about it or think about it,” he added. “I’m looking forward to seeing a guy like Chase do a lot of good things and continue to build himself in this league. When it’s my turn to go out there, I’m gonna do the same thing.”

Moss said the change of pace he and Brown will present the defense, along with the rest they will provide each other, will have a significant impact.

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“We’re definitely two different (types) of backs,” he said. “He’s crazy fast and explosive. That will play a good role in the offense. It keeps the defense on its heels.

“When you’ve got two backs, it makes it a little easier,” Moss added. “I was in Indy with JT, so when he came back, I was excited because it made things so much easier. Defenses wore down and things like that. I’m trying to take that experience and bring it here with these guys.”

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