As the Cincinnati Bengals gear up for their first preseason game next week, several key players are still sidelined.
On Thursday, the team got a scare when tight end Drew Sample went down with a knee injury that led to him being carted off the field.
Thankfully, Sample and the Bengals appear to have dodged a bullet, according to head coach Zac Taylor.
Zac Taylor says Drew Sample dodged a bullet and should miss only a couple of weeks. Had left knee rolled up on.— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) August 5, 2022
Sample, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, is probably the team’s best blocking tight end, so losing him could affect the protection on the edge.
That’s even more true with right tackle La’el Collins still sidelined with his back injury. Taylor didn’t offer much of a development today outside of Collins doesn’t need to play in the preseason but ideally will practice soon as the regular-season opener vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers looms.
Bengals coach Zac Taylor on if he needs to see La'el Collins work in the preseason to play him Week 1: "You'd like him to get practice snaps. I don't need him to get preseason snaps."— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) August 5, 2022
Finally, there’s star quarterback Joe Burrow, who continues to recover from the appendectomy he had at the start of training camp. While it’s a procedure Burrow should have no trouble coming back from, it is enough to keep him sidelined for most of the preseason.
Taylor isn’t ready to put a timetable on Burrow’s return but is calling him day-to-day, a sign he won’t be out too much longer.
Zac Taylor says Joe Burrow has been leading meetings and remains "day-to-day."— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) August 5, 2022
"We'll progress. Hate to put a timeline on it."
It’s certainly not ideal to have these guys sidelined, but the good news is it doesn’t appear any of them are in danger of missing Week 1.
Still, you’d love to see these guys get several weeks of practice in to help build chemistry, especially with Burrow and Collins given how important they are to this team.