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Bengals News (8/26): Zac Taylor sends message

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Zac Taylor ends a clear message that he and his coaching staff doesn’t care how you came to the team. All that matters is if you can play.

Cincinnati Bengals v Washington Redskins Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Prodigy, The Veteran And The Underdog
Takari Brooks, who made the trade with Damion Willis in tenth grade and is probably his best friend, saw the news pop off his phone some time Sunday afternoon. He shot off a text to the man replacing wide receiver A.J. Green in the starting lineup for the Bengals in the Sept. 8 opener in Seattle and wondered, “Hey Bro, you didn’t tell me this.”

Taylor's Opening Day Lineup Sends A Message
Everyone thought Bengals rookie head coach Zac Taylor was making a statement about culture on Thursday night when he went for a tie in the last two minutes and change of a pre-season game. They should have waited a couple of days because he delivered an even stronger message on Sunday, two weeks before his first game in Seattle.

Quotes: Taylor Names Starters, Previews Colts
“I am. You feel awful for him. I don’t know him, and I don’t know that I’ve ever really met him, other than five minutes at the Combine years ago. He’s one of the greatest competitors I’ve ever played against, ever watched on tape. He was about all the right things. He didn’t come to this decision easily. Hopefully he’s at peace with it, because he’s one of the great competitors that, as a quarterbacks coach, I’ve always admired and hated playing against. I played against him twice when he was young and it was not fun. With the game on the line and the ball in his hands, you knew he was a winner. I wish him the best for whatever he has planned in his future.”

Game Preview Presented By Papa John's: Bengals vs Colts
Adding to the intrigue will be the play of rookie QB Jake Dolegala, who made his debut against the Giants last week. In a little more than a quarter of action, Dolegala, who played collegiately at Central Connecticut State, completed 10 of 12 passes for 94 yards and two TDs against the Giants, and ended the night with a 138.9 passer rating.

Hobson's Choice Mailbag: Toil, Toil On The Bubble
As long as Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard are healthy, that’s going to be his role. Especially early in the season. Remember, he didn’t have his first NFL practice until two weeks ago. As the season goes on, we’ll see who is the No. 3 back, a role that’s not going to net many scrimmage snaps. Anderson would certainly be the leader in the clubhouse, given his bell-cow size at 6-0, 224 pounds.

Bengals shuffle O-line, name Hopkins as starting C
Rookie Michael Jordan will be the team's starting left guard and Trey Hopkins will start at center, Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor said on Sunday. The combination means Billy Price, the team's first-round pick in 2018 and former primary center, will be a back-up when the season begins on Sept. 8.

A.J. Green was still in a boot, using a scooter at Sunday’s practice
Initially, after Green’s injury in Dayton to open training camp, Taylor had said he hopes Green only misses a few games. Seattle was always in doubt, but it’s interesting little is being said about Green’s status, so we only have the visuals to work with.

Whose Bengals stock is falling with one preseason game left?
This happens partially due to poor performances that push the stock needle in a negative direction for some players. Whether it is poor performances or a numbers crunch because others are performing well, these players have stock dipping at the worst possible time.

Cincinnati Bengals: 3 burning questions for the last week of preseason
Thankfully, the 2019 NFL exhibition season is winding down. With only one game left, the Cincinnati Bengals still have some questions needing answers. With a 1-2 record and a home game left against the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday, head coach Zac Taylor has a lot to figure out.

Around the league

Tom Brady reacts to Andrew Luck's retirement
"It is his life. Everyone has the right to choose what he wants to do," Brady said. "He had a great career, and he was a great player. Everybody wishes they could be healthy all the time. It is a contact sport, and he's certainly had his fair share of injuries, so guys retire at different times. Some at the end of the season, and I have seen a lot of guys retire before the season gets going and this is just one of those examples."

What we learned from Steelers' win over Titans
1. The Steelers first-team defense made so many plays in the first half that acknowledging their success started to sound like a roll call. Stephon Tuitt. Cameron Heyward. T.J. Watt. And even the new kid in class, Devin Bush. Each player made an impression, besting Tennessee's offense in a variety of ways early and often. After a three-play, 10-yard Titans opening series -- a sequence that saw Bush engulf Titans running back Dion Lewis almost immediately after securing a handoff for no gain -- the Steelers took little time to top their first act.

Roundup: Jets' Quinnen Williams fined for late hit
Williams has been fined $21,056 for a late hit on Falcons quarterback Matt Schaub in the second quarter of the Jets-Falcons game on August 15. The play occurred on Schaub's first snap of the game after coming on for starter Matt Ryan.

Colts not recouping Andrew Luck's $16.8M in bonuses
Two team executives who handle contract negotiations and salary-cap matters for their clubs told NFL Network's Mike Garafolo that Indy could take back $12.8 million in signing-bonus proration as well as a $4 million prorated roster bonus. Because Luck has three years left on his contract, only one-third of the $12 million roster bonus he earned in March would be considered recoupable.

Raiders' Antonio Brown loses second helmet grievance
Brown's hearing this past Friday involved the same independent arbitrator as his first hearing. The All-Pro wideout argued he should be given a one-year grace period to phase out using his helmet. Brown has not played in the preseason while dealing with the helmet issue and a foot injury.

Redskins tab QB Case Keenum starter over Haskins
The announcement was expected after Keenum started all three preseason games for the Redskins. Now it's official that Dwayne Haskins, selected with the 15th overall pick in the 2019 draft, will begin his career in Washington as a backup. Keenum outplayed the rookie from Ohio State this month, though neither was especially impressive.