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Recapping Friday’s practice at Bengals training camp

Joe Burrow returns to face more pressure behind a struggling offensive line.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals Training Camp Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

For most, Friday is the end of the work week. But the Bengals are just getting started for the weekend.

Zac Taylor’s squad took the field Friday afternoon after a day off on Thursday. Unfortunately for Joe Burrow and the offense, things remained frustrating.

Burrow, who returned after two days off, continued to feel the pressure and had another rough outing according to the imaginary box score. In the team’s third padded practice, the defensive line got the best of Burrow’s protection, particularly the interior, and caused the usual havoc they’ve been creating for the past week.

The offensive line did get Riley Reiff back into the lineup, but even with the veteran right tackle, the group was charged with three false starts during 11-on-11 work, including one on Reiff.

The other culprit was rookie right guard Jackson Carman. After his second false start of the day, he was pulled for veteran Xavier Su’a-Filo.

At the beginning of camp, there was concern regarding Carman not getting many reps with the starters. Growing pains for the second-round pick were to be expected, but now we seem to be realizing why he wasn’t inserted over Su’a-Filo at the beginning.

Along with Reiff, Trey Hopkins was also working with the 1s during practice. It’s mainly been Billy Price at center for most of camp, so perhaps the change at center created an adjustment period for the young Carman.

We can interpret the on-going offensive struggles any way we want. For Burrow, it’s simply not been good enough, and he’s not going to use the injury as an excuse. After practice, he was getting in some extra deep throws to Thaddeus Moss and Tyler Boyd.

It’s really anybody’s guess as to why the offense can’t even produce a respectable day out on the field right now. The defense is playing phenomenal, obviously, but there seems to be a myriad of issues plaguing the offense. The line is still gelling and communication might be at the top of their struggles. Burrow himself might be re-adjusting to how he faces pressure again.

At least Tee Higgins continues to look incredible. That has not changed on bit this entire offseason.

Lastly, Evan McPherson continues to shine with his right leg. He was a perfect four-for-four from field goal range with a 54-yarder to boot. Austin Siebert was right behind him with a three-for-four outing.

While these two are competing with one another like how Jake Elliott and Randy Bullock did four years prior, the difference is that McPherson is putting together a much more impressive camp compared to Elliott when he was a rookie.

Looking back at that maligned kicking battle, that was the only reason why Bullock won. The team shouldn’t have got rid of Elliott at all considering they invested such a high draft pick in him, but Elliott certainly didn’t perform better than his veteran adversary.

The opposite is happening between McPherson and Siebert. The rookie has made more with his opportunities, and as long as that remains the case, Bengals fans shouldn’t be worried about a repeat of 2017.