The Bengals' early-season offensive struggles prompted the firing of offensive coordinator Ken Zampese following their Week 2 loss to the Texans, with Bill Lazor assuming those duties in Zampese's stead. One of Lazor's main initiatives as the Bengals' new coordinator will likely be carving out more work for Mixon, who has logged 17 carries to Giovani Bernard's 12 and Jeremy Hill's 12 through the team's first two games. Mixon is only averaging 2.6 yards per carry, but he offers more burst and pass-catching ability than Hill and more strength between the tackles than Bernard, making him the team's most complete back. While Mixon's well-rounded skill set probably won't earn him a three-down role until he yields better results, it appears that the team will at least make a more concerted effort to get the ball in the rookie's hands more frequently at the expense of the veteran holdovers.
Kroft is slated for more snaps Sunday at Green Bay with Tyler Eifert (knee/back) out of the lineup, Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com reports.
Eifert's health concerns appear to stem from side effects of last December's back surgery and knee tendinitis from the preseason, signaling a multi-game absence is possible. After handling 84 and 78 percent of the offensive snaps in the first two weeks of the season, Eifert leaves a large void to be filled by Kroft and, to a lesser extent, Ryan Hewitt. Whether the workload results in marks in the box score remains to be seen, but Kroft has hauled in 22 of 28 passes for 226 yards and one touchdown in 32 career contests.
Johnson (concussion) is questionable for Sunday's game against the Packers, Paul Dehner Jr. of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
Packers' starting left tackle David Bakhtiari (hamstring) hasn't practiced yet this week, and if he doesn't play, this would be the perfect opportunity for Johnson to pick on Green Bay's reserve linemen. However, if Johnson isn't able to clear concussion protocol by Sunday, expect to see Chris Smith and Jordan Willis in his place again.
Smith (ankle) is listed as questionable for Sunday's matchup with the Packers, Paul Dehner Jr. of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
Smith has been playing mainly in a special teams role, so if he's unable to play it won't throw off the Bengals' game plan for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Being given a questionable designation signals that it's not likely a long-term injury.
Hopkins (knee) won't play Sunday against the Packers, Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com reports.
Hopkins is set to miss his second straight week, leaving T.J. Johnson to continue filling in.