The Cincinnati Bengals defense got good news on the injury front Monday.
Backup linebacker Joe Bachie, who left Friday’s preseason loss to the Packers due to injury, was present for today’s session. Earlier in the day, head coach Zac Taylor said Bachie was “fine” after suffering what was called a chest injury.
The team got more good news in the form of backup defensive end Tarell Basham being in uniform for the first time since July 27th, when he was carted off the field with a leg injury. It was actually the same day Joe Burrow went down and was carted off the field with his calf injury.
Basham wasn’t in pads but did have a uniform on with his helmet, so it appears he’ll be back fully practicing soon enough.
DE Tarell Basham, who was working on the rehab field yesterday, is in uniform today for the first time in a few weeks. He’s not in pads, but he has his jersey and helmet. A big step for the new defensive end.— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) August 14, 2023
Basham and Bachie are both guys fighting for a few spots on a 53-man roster that’s mostly set in terms of the first 45-ish spots. Basham’s absence has allowed third-year man Raymond Johnson III to get more reps and put himself in a position to potentially steal Basham’s spot as the sixth defense end behind Sam Hubbard, Trey Hendrickson, Myles Murphy, Cam Sample, and Joseph Ossai.
Johnson finished Friday’s game as the Bengals’ second-highest-graded player overall via Pro Football Focus.
As for Bachie, he’s battling the likes of Shaka Heyward, Keandre Jones, and Jaylen Moody for the final linebacker spot behind Logan Wilson, Germaine Pratt, Markus Bailey, and Akeem Davis-Gaither.
At this point, I’d say Bachie’s spot is a little more secure than that of Basham, but these next two preseason games will go a long way in deciding if one or both make the Week 1 roster.
Saying this, I doubt Basham will play this week if he’s not fully practicing four days from Friday’s game in Atlanta. Hopefully, he’ll play in the third pregame game at Washington.