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Bengals News (6/9): Putting in work

Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase are meeting after practices to get their connection back online.

NFL: JUN 08 Bengals OTA Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Joe Burrow, Bengals focus on the deep passing game
But you got the sense watching Tuesday's voluntary workout on the Paul Brown Stadium practice fields that it is an urgent item on head coach Zac Taylor's spring agenda. For the first time this year, Burrow threw consistently long routes to his receivers for much of the practice after a spring the quarterbacks have been throwing their deep balls largely to stationary receivers.

Bengals Notebook: Tee Higgins looks to make a major leap
It turns out the hamstring injury on the first series of last season's finale that robbed him of a Bengals rookie-record 68th catch may end up helping him set other records. The game may be slower for him, but he says he's faster. And although the 6-4 Higgins says he's 220 pounds, just like at the beginning of last year, it's a way different 220.

Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase again did extra work after Bengals OTAs
Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase putting in some extra work after practice was one of the notable big talking points after the first OTAs session for the Cincinnati Bengals at the end of May.

Bengals’ Zac Taylor on Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Peyton Manning, and More
Sean and Peter are joined by Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor to talk about his days coaching with Sean in L.A. and playing quarterback in practice, drafting Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase in back-to-back drafts, trying but failing to recruit Peyton Manning in Miami, his worst play call as a Bengal, and stories about the McVay coaching tree (2:10). We finish the show with listener emails and voicemails (51:08).

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins Surprised by Joe Burrow's Increase in Velocity
Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins was just hoping to catch a few passes from Joe Burrow during OTAs this offseason. Instead, he had to prepare his hands for daily practices with his starting quarterback.

Bengals defense underestimated in fantasy football rankings
Most of the intrigue from Cincinnati’s offseason has surrounded the offense. This is to be expected when a team has a superstar potential young quarterback and what is to be expected one of the best receiving cores in the NFL. Because of this, it is not a surprise that the defense might fly under the radar. But to this extent?

New Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals rivalry could be brewing
TT is not the world’s greatest stat because there are a variety of factors that affect it, such as whether the play calls for a three-step drop, five-step drop, or seven-step drop; whether the play calls for the passer to roll out, which is often the case for Baker Mayfield; whether the play contains a run-pass-option (RPO); or whether the passer decides to scramble to buy time, which is an option for Lamar Jackson, who might take all day to throw the ball at times.

Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah ‘ecstatic’ after return from injury
“It’s probably the happiest I’ve been in a long, long time,” Uzomah said during a post-practice press conference. “I’m ecstatic. It’s great just being able to be around the guys. The meetings are sometimes Zoom and stuff, so it’s a little weird, but at least I’m in the locker room. At least I’m hearing this music blare and getting to talk crap to the guys. I feel good, so I can’t really put into words how great it feels to be cleared and to be participating full-go and not have any limitations.”

Nine NFL bandwagons to hop on in 2021: Tennessee Titans, Joe Burrow and Brandon Staley top the list
Looks like he'll be ready for Week 1, and I can't wait. This cat has "it." He's what you want in a franchise quarterback, and he's going to be a superstar, especially with the weapons at his disposal. Burrow showed a nice rapport with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd in Year 1, and now old friend Ja'Marr Chase joins the fun. I loved the pick at No. 5 overall. Chase is going to be in the mix for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Remember what Burrow and Chase did together two years ago? They owned college football, guiding LSU to a national title, with Burrow winning the Heisman Trophy and Chase nabbing the Biletnikoff Award. I can't wait to watch their swagger in Cincy. And I think Joe Mixon's due for a major bounceback after an injury-riddled 2020 campaign.

Around the league

Aaron Rodgers doesn't report to Packers mandatory minicamp
Missing all three days of mandatory minicamp subjects Rodgers to fines of $93,085. Given that he's already jeopardized a $500,000 workout bonus by missing OTAs and other workouts, Rodgers isn't likely to be swayed by the relatively minuscule fines. The wallet-hurting penalties don't come until training camp, which kicks off July 27.

Saints coach Sean Payton planning to build offense 'a little bit' around QB who wins starting gig
Even with the Saints not conducting traditional practices during this portion of the offseason schedule, the battle between Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill to replace future Hall of Famer Drew Brees remains the biggest storyline emanating from New Orleans.

Roundup: Niners OL Justin Skule, DB Tarvarius Moore suffer significant injuries
Two 49ers, offensive lineman Justin Skule and defensive back Tarvarius Moore, suffered significant injuries during Monday's OTAs session. Skule tore his ACL, while Moore tore his Achilles, according to the team, likely ending the season for both of them.

Mason Rudolph wants to be with Steelers, not concerning himself with anything beyond 2021
And in 2020, a week of rest for Roethlisberger is what allowed Rudolph to get his lone start of the year. After 2021 began with uncertainty surrounding Big Ben's future, Rudolph appears headed for yet another season spent behind the decorated veteran. The downside, of course, is simple: It's also the last year of Rudolph's rookie deal.