The Cincinnati Bengals already got an update on star running back Joe Mixon, but he is far from the only one that has been hampered by an injury this season. The team was down both Tee Higgins and Jessie Bates, two crucial players on opposite sides of the ball, in the team’s Week 4 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Higgins was out with a shoulder injury, while Bates was on the sideline due to a neck injury. Another key absentee was offseason addition Chidobe Awuzie, as the starting cornerback was out with a groin injury.
All three were missed on Thursday, and Cincy probably needs them to have a realistic shot at beating the Green Bay Packers this week.
Good thing head coach Zac Taylor is expecting all three, as well as offensive lineman Xavier Su’a-Filo, to be back in action this week, per Bengals.com’s Marisa Contipelli.
Zac Taylor on injuries:— Marisa Contipelli (@BengalsMarisa) October 4, 2021
Expects both Tee Higgins and Jessie Bates to practice this week.
Ricardo Allen is going through the final phases of clearance to return to practice. (possibly this week)
Xavier Su'a-Fila is day-to-day.
Chidobe Awuzie will practice Wednesday.
This is great news as the team clearly missed all three on Thursday.
With Bates taking a step forward as the undisputed captain of the defense, his absence was notable, and it was felt as the Jags scored 14 in the first half. Jacksonville, one of the worst scoring teams in the league, moving the ball on Cincinnati was more a testament to the absence of Awuzie and Bates than anything else.
Cornerback Trae Waynes did make his season debut which helped ensure they could slow down Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault Jr. The Bengals ended up limited No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence to just 204 yards.
As for Higgins, he should slot back in as one of Burrow’s premier targets. Ja’Marr Chase has stepped up, scoring against the Steelers and securing over 60 yards against the Jags. Tyler Boyd also had a big game against the Jags.
However, this team will be looking forward to welcoming Higgins, who neared 1,000 yards as a rookie, back into the receiver rotation.
As for Su’a-Filo, it’s unclear if he’ll get his starting right guard spot back if healthy, as rookie Jackson Carman flashed potential in his two starts there. Ideally, Carman continues to start and keeps developing into the player Cincinnati envisioned when he was selected in Round 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft.