The New Orleans Saints are prepared to see a fair amount of touches by Cincinnati running back Joe Mixon, who was brought in for a visit prior to the 2017 draft.
First, the Bengals likely will be without star receiver A.J. Green (45 catches for 687 yards and six touchdowns), who is expected to miss the next two games with a toe injury. Second, Mixon (6 feet 1, 220 pounds) is pretty good at what he does.
He has run for 509 yards and four touchdowns on 105 carries, and has caught 19 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.
"When we spent time with Joe when he came on a visit, he was strong, big, physical, he's got real good receiving skills – someone that it came natural to," Payton said. "You saw it in the college tape. I think you're seeing some of his best football now.
"You watch him, he's strong, he's got real good vision and burst. He's something. He'll be one of the keys for us, how we're able to defend him, because he's a young guy that I think is just coming into his own and putting up great numbers. He's extremely hard to bring down and he's got real, real good speed."
As for the absence of Green, a two-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowler, Payton said, "It's a huge impact. He's someone that commands a ton of coverage respect. Obviously, one of their better players. (But) you've got to defend the offense in its entirety."