After a day off headlined by starting cornerback Mackensie Alexander flying to Florida to search for his missing father, the Bengals returned to the practice fields and held an afternoon session for the first time since the pads came on last week. Here’s what we learned from Wednesday’s practice.
Injuries to monitor(?)
On Monday, running back Joe Mixon was seen working on the rehab field. Reports initially stated that Mixon had an off day, but head coach Zac Taylor later said that Mixon was dealing with a minor injury.
Mixon was again not on the field Wednesday, as he continues to deal with whatever ailment he’s dealing with. Michael Jordan was out as well as his baby was just born yesterday, and Ryan Finley was out with an illness.
Michael Jordan not working. after birth of his baby yesterday. Joe Mixon out again with minor injury. Ryan Finley out with illness— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) August 26, 2020
Edge defenders Carl Lawson and Carlos Dunlap remained out with their respective injuries as well. Geno Atkins was out with what’s being labeled as “personal reasons”.
As for the players who did practice, one of them was A.J. Green. It was Green’s first practice back since last Monday when he injured his hamstring. Green partook in just the individual receiver drills.
AJ Green back at practice today! Joe Mixon, Carlos Dunlap, Carl Lawson remain out.... pic.twitter.com/kTkYEArFr2— Tony Pike (@tony_pike15) August 26, 2020
Fellow receiver John Ross participated during team drills for the second consecutive practice. Later in the day, Ross went down with what appeared to be a left arm injury. He went down on that arm while trying to catch a deep pass.
Ross did not go back inside the locker room after getting looked at by trainers. As a matter of fact, he soon returned to the field with the 1s and immediately caught a pass on his first play back.
John Ross is back and makes a catch in 11v11.— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) August 26, 2020
Everyone can take a breath.
Despite his quick return, Ross was seen holding his injured arm after continuing to practice. This will be a situation worth monitoring in the coming days.
Changing of the guard(s)
A day after signing free agent offensive lineman Frederick Mauigoa, the Bengals used him as their second-team right guard, a spot that has seen numerous names play it this month.
Billy Price, who has normally been at guard with the 2s, was at center today with that group.
New signee Frederick Mauigoa is at RG with the 2s. Billy Price at C.— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) August 26, 2020
Last week, college free agent Josh Knipfel was taking reps behind Trey Hopkins as the second-string center, but Knipfel has been out for a few days with a head injury. This was the reason for the team bringing in Mauigoa.
Taylor and offensive line coach Jim Turner had some interesting comments about Fred Johnson the other day. Johnson took some reps at right guard with the starters on Monday and was back there again today.
Fred Johnson at RG again today with the first team— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) August 26, 2020
With Jordan out for the day, perhaps this was an opportunity to see what adjustments would have to be made if the second-year player where to miss time during the regular season. It’s unclear who took Jordan’s spot at left guard, but Xavier Su’a-Filo seems like the best bet with Price still with the second-string.
Dolegala’s missed opportunity
As Finley was out for the day, second-string quarterback duties fell into the hands of Jake Dolegala. The one mention we got of Dolegala was not a good one, as he was intercepted by safety Jessie Bates III.
Jessie Bates just picked off Jake Dolegala in 11-on-11. Dolegala is having a rough day with the second unit. #Bengals— Tyler Dragon (@TheTylerDragon) August 26, 2020
Finley, who was dubbed the MVP of last Friday’s scrimmage by Taylor, has looked marginally improved during his second training camp, and Dolegala’s opportunities to challenge him to backup Joe Burrow have been limited. Today was arguably his best chance to build some momentum for himself, but he fell short in doing that.
Dolegala may not get a shot during the team’s second scrimmage on August 30th, which will act as their third preseason game, so the third and final scrimmage later in September will have to be where Dolegala makes some noise.