It’s been a tumultuous season for second-year offensive lineman Billy Price. Since losing the starting battle at center back in the preseason, Price has been an on-again, off-again option at left guard for the Bengals. One of the reasons why he lost that initial battle at center was because he was fighting a foot injury. Now, it’s another ailment that’s holding Price back.
Zac Taylor told reporters during Monday’s press conference that Price is nursing a back injury, which is why he did not start against the Jets this week.
“Billy (Price) has been fighting a little bit of a back (injury). We’ll continue to see how that develops over the course of the week. We’ll make some decisions as the weeks goes as to what we want to do there.”
In his place, Michael Jordan started at left guard for the first time since Week 5. Jordan had an okay performance, but nothing to keep Price out of consideration at that spot.
Regardless, according to Jay Morrison of The Athletic, offensive coordinator Brian Callahan hopes to see finish the season with continuity along the offensive line, which presumably means keeping Jordan in with the starters.
“You always like to see the starting five guys that you feel best about play a ton of reps together and be together for 10 years,” Callahan said. “Those are usually where the best lines come from. Guys who have played together a lot. So yeah, consistency would be something that we are striving for.”
If Price’s current injury prohibits him from playing, Callahan and Taylor may not have a choice anyways in deciding who plays. With Alex Redmond on the Reserve/Injured list for the remainder of the year and Jonah Williams not likely to play, Jordan is their best option at the moment. Just eight weeks ago, that statement was preposterous based on how Jordan played to start the season, but options are limited as the season comes to a close.
You have to sympathize for Price in this situation, though. While he wasn’t showing signs of improvement, another injury only delays his already stunted development even further. He may not play another down this season, but this is the Bengals’ offensive line, where craziness happens nearly every week. We’ll just have to wait and see.