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Bengals News (7/28): Tough road ahead

The 2021 schedule may be tougher than some fans are anticipating.

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Cincinnati Bengals v Washington Football Team Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Bengals excited to unveil new look defense during training camp
Cornerback Trae Waynes, a first-rounder in his prime and one of their hugest free agents ever, has yet to take a snap as a Bengal after getting injured in the weight room last year. Nose tackle D.J. Reader, their biggest free-agent ever until sack ace Trey Hendrickson's $60 million deal this year, got hurt in his fifth game as a Bengal. Perennial Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins barely played because of injury. Their top four cornerbacks lost a total of 25 games to injury.

Cincinnati Bengals training camp questions: Joe Burrow's return and Zac Taylor's uncertain future
The early returns for Cincinnati’s franchise quarterback were nothing but positive. Six months after Burrow had reconstructive left knee surgery to repair multiple ligaments, he participated in every OTA and the one-day minicamp. Burrow wore a brace, but he looked comfortable in limited participation. However, the Bengals minimized any chance of contact and Burrow didn’t face a pass rush during offseason workouts. The true test for the 2020 top overall pick will come when he gets pressured in the pocket for the first time. And once the health questions are answered, there’s another big unknown looming over Burrow: Can he continue to make progress in Year 2 and unlock a more explosive vertical passing attack that was absent in 2020?

How Joe Burrow is going to cost Bengals head coach Zac Taylor his job
Taylor, who was hired as the Bengals head coach in 2019 after serving as the Los Angeles Rams’ quarterbacks coach under Sean McVay, is an offensive-minded coach who specializes in quarterbacks.

Mike Brown, Zac Taylor comment on Bengals’ high vaccination rate
The Cincinnati Bengals say they have hit the 90 percent threshold in terms of player vaccinations ahead of training camp, while the entire surrounding staff is fully vaccinated.

NFL COVID protocols: Cincinnati Bengals ready to open camp
That comes up now and still because the NFL has decided to get tough on this issue, with players, coaches, support people and media. (Not with fans, though. More on that momentarily.) Let other businesses stay soft on the subject of vaccinations, mask-wearing and all the other accouterments of the COVID Era. If you want to play ball in the NFL, you better play by the NFL’s rules.

Cincinnati Bengals 53-man roster prediction ahead of training camp
Training Camp is here for the Cincinnati Bengals and the NFL! A lot can and will happen, of course, between now and Sept. 12. For now, however, we must work with the information laid before us. So, here is a 53 man roster projection for the Bengals that will surely need to be revisited after the final preseason game, if not before.

Cincinnati Bengals Face One of the NFL's Toughest Schedules This Season
Week 3 starts the brutality with an annual road trip that doesn't have a reputation for bringing joy to the Bengals. They’ll face Pittsburgh early in the year at one of the Steelers' healthiest points in the season. This game is also on the road a Heinz field, a stadium that has not even come close to being a welcoming atmosphere to your favorite players in orange and black.

Around the league

NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates: Najee Harris top threat to Trevor Lawrence
It seemed like a forgone conclusion that Trevor Lawrence would be the first pick of the 2021 NFL Draft since he led Clemson to a national championship as a true freshman back in 2018. As expected, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected him No. 1 overall, and now he heads into his debut season leading a deep crop of talented rookies, many of whom are in position to see extensive playing time right out of the gate.

2021 NFL season: Projecting the most improved player on each AFC team
Each offseason gives NFL teams a chance to adjust and craft new strategies, with those changes often helping to create opportunities for certain players to increase their production in the upcoming campaign. Using my forward-looking data models, I've identified one player from each NFL team who projects to see such an uptick in 2021 based on their performance trajectory and the scheme they'll be playing in this season.

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson not practicing due to positive COVID-19 test
The Ravens star QB is being held out of Wednesday's practice because of a positive COVID-19 test, sources tell NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo. It is unclear how long Jackson is expected to be sidelined at this point as the team goes through the extensive COVID protocols. Jackson will remain out until he clears.

Von Miller hopes to play 'five to seven more years' in NFL
Miller is entering the final year of his contract with the Broncos in 2021, and at 32 years old, his future in the league is far from certain. Miller missed all of the 2020 season due to an ankle injury and after 10 years spent in the league, he is certainly on the back nine of his career. Miller also has to prove he can be the version of himself who built a reputation as a devastating force off the edge, something he hasn't quite been able to accurately claim in the last couple of years.