The Cincinnati Bengals are already—if nothing else—one of the most compelling storylines of the 2020 NFL season. Seven-and-a-half months of an unprecedented offseason have certainly proved they will continue to keep us on our toes, so it’s no surprise that there’s already pressing topics to cover after just one training camp practice open to the media.
Here are our takeaways from the team’s last pad-less practice on Monday.
So far so great for Joe Burrow
Pictures and video of Burrow sporting the orange No. 9 practice jersey have become a hot commodity amongst both Bengals fans and national media. Supply of such content saw a surplus by the end of practice as Burrow was proving why the camera needs to stay on him.
Reports of Burrow’s seven-on-seven showing are as good as it gets. Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com says he was a perfect seven for seven during team drills, showcasing his signature accuracy on every throw.
Burrow didn’t have two of his top receivers for the day as Tee Higgins is still nursing a minor injury and John Ross remains away from the team. As a result, Mike Thomas got valuable reps along with A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd. Green caught his fair share of passes from his new quarterback, but his day was unfortunately shortened due to what appears to be a minor hamstring ailment, which means...
Depth at receiver at defensive tackle will be tested
It’s unclear if Green will be practicing tomorrow when the team puts on full pads for the first time, but with Higgins and Ross both out, the position will be counting on the bottom of the depth chart for now. If Thomas is in for Ross, it’ll be interesting to see who comes in for Green if he misses some time.
Through video, we were able to see that second-year receiver Damion Willis was practicing, so he’s no longer on the Physically Unable to Perform list. He would be a likely option to replace Green like he did last year. Auden Tate should get opportunities as well.
to reiterate, Green’s injury appears minor, and he was held out of the remainder of practice for precautionary reasons. Renell Wren, on the other hand, was carted off the field for what appears to be a serious right leg injury.
Wren is just the latest blow at defensive tackle for the Bengals to manage around. The team has already waived Ryan Glasgow due to a failed physical, and lost Josh Tupou to the opt-out list. Wren was a likely candidate to replace Tupou in the defense’s base front, but he could be looking at a potentially long recovery time period.
The next man up could be college free agent Trey Dishon, who was kept on last week while fellow CFA Tyler Clark was waived to make room for the signing of Mike Daniels. The role for Daniels may or may not be impacted due to the loss of Wren, but he surely won’t be seeing the field any less.
Andrew Brown is a name to remember in all of this. The defense utilized him as an edge rusher last year, but he’s better suited to be an interior player. His availability will be crucial now.
The search at corner begins with a rotation
The loss of Trae Waynes became surreal today as head coach Zac Taylor announced the veteran cornerback did undergo surgery to repair his pectoral injury. In his place, the team utilized a three-way rotation of Darius Phillips, LeShaun Sims, and Winston Rose, per Hobson’s report.
Sims and Rose were name dropped by defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo earlier this month, so each of them receiving reps in place of Waynes comes with little surprise. In all likelihood though, this is Phillips’ job to lose. He made several splashes as a reserve last year and this is the perfect opportunity for him to prove his worth as a starter.
With a little under four weeks until the season begins, the team has time on their side to find Waynes’ true replacement.