The Cincinnati Bengals’ third padded practice of training camp is in the books, as is this week of practice in general. We’re now a week away from the first preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, and Cincinnati is going through the motions.
For Joe Burrow, the only movement involved with him is the golf cart he drives during practice. It’s been more than a week since Burrow’s appendectomy and it still figures as part of the day-to-day.
Whether or not Burrow is around for practice doesn’t seem to play a role in whether he’s close to returning, but there have been no reports questioning the original timeline of a two-week recovery period for the starting quarterback. Considering there are only a handful of practices left until the first preseason game, Burrow almost certainly won’t be preparing for that matchup.
Burrow’s absence under center has generated a lot of positive plays for the Bengals’ defense, but Ja’Marr Chase is doing well. He got the best pass of camp from Brandon Allen, even though linebacker Germaine Pratt would have fired him if the rep was in a real game situation.
Now that the team is fully occupied doing 11v11 work, we can start putting together what the depth chart looks like. With this close-up, we can gauge that Cam Sample is part of the first team’s nickel defensive line package.
Looks like nickel DL with Cam Sample in and Hubbard in LDE.
Davis-Gaither replaces Logan Wilson (still working) at LB. https://t.co/Xi4zrFaJTv
— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) August 5, 2022
Allen has had his moments filling in for Burrow, but the Bengals’ secondary has generally secured one turnover a day against the backup quarterback. Today, it was Vonn Bell whose hands secured one of Allen’s passes.
Vonn Bell with his second interception of training camp just intercepted Brandon Allen #Flares
—Kelsey Conway (@KelseyLConway) August 5, 2022
The last seven have been a consistent winner in eight practices so far, but Cam Taylor-Britt has had his share of ups and downs. Yesterday, it was college free agent Allan George, not Taylor-Britt, who did reps with the 1 in place of an injured Eli Apple. Today, Tre Flowers got the first shot at Apple’s place.
Taylor-Britt finally got her reps against the starters, and by all accounts it was one of her best days in camp.
Rookie CB Cam Taylor-Britt is having a recovery day.
Breaking up passes, running around with the 1s a bit, showing some really impressive speed.
—Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) August 5, 2022
Taylor-Britt carries an inordinate weight on his shoulders as a rookie second-round pick, at least from the outside looking in. The Bengals rarely trade in the NFL Draft, specifically within the first three rounds. They did it for Taylor-Britt, and with Apple being his main competitor for playing time, there’s a chance he could become a starter before too long.
But the 22-year-old cornerback has yet to get past Apple, who has the confidence of the coaches and has been practicing hard before suffering his injury. Taylor-Britt is still a rookie trying to find his footing, like 99% of the players at his position.
On the subject of rookies, former Wisconsin wide receiver Kendric Pryor faced Big 10 rivals Nebraska and Taylor-Britt several times during his time with the Badgers, and the undrafted free agent signatory in the The draft has had an impressive week working with the second-team offense.
Because he’s not a primary player in the punt-return battle, Pryor has been somewhat under the radar as a receiver looking to make the opening day roster. But for a team that lacks dynamic athletes outside of its three starters, there’s a real chance Pryor could build on this momentum in the preseason and make a strong case for a spot in the starting 53.
D’Ante Smith was thought to be insurance for the roster, but now an injury could get in the way. Smith hurt his right leg early in practice and was eventually carried back to the locker room after he tried to put pressure on his injured leg.
We don’t know the extent of Smith’s injury, but serious or not, it’s the latest setback the second-year offensive lineman has to deal with. The 2021 fourth-round draft pick spent most of his rookie season battling lower-body injuries.