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Jay Tufele continues to make his presence known with the Bengals

The third-year defensive lineman had an outstanding game on Friday night versus the Packers, continuing to show his value to the team.

The early games in the preseason are largely about getting views on unknown and/or new commodities. Of course, getting snaps in for some players with which the coaches are familiar is part and parcel of the summertime exhibitions as well.

Though there were ups and downs in the Bengals’ 36-19 loss to the Packers in their 2023 preseason opener, a handful of players made nice impressions. One player on that list is carrying in some nice momentum from 2022 in defensive lineman Jay Tufele.

Against Green Bay, Tufele had five total tackles (the co-team lead with Allan George), including one big one for a loss and a quarterback hit. With the Bengals shuffling things around all night, the third-year defensive lineman was one of the stars of the game on limited snaps.

It isn’t the first time Tufele has made notable plays for the Bengals. After being drafted in the fourth round out of USC by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021, Tufele was a late cut last year. Cincinnati scooped him off waivers, and he landed on their final roster, where he would make a sizable impact in several wins.

When D.J. Reader was out with a knee injury last year, Tufele was pressed into a bigger role, and he responded well. He had two run stuffs and six tackles in the win over the New Orleans Saints, as well as another run stuff and another half-dozen tackles against the Atlanta Falcons.

Tufele capped off the year with two more tackles in the Wild Card win over the Baltimore Ravens.

Cincinnati has given the impression that they like the makeup of their defensive line from last year. They didn’t invest a pick in this spring’s draft at the position, nor did they add a high-profile interior defensive lineman in free agency, perhaps pointing at their long-term belief in Tufele.

Right now, Tufele is listed third on the team’s official nose tackle depth chart, behind D.J. Reader and Josh Tupou. Domenique Davis flashed as well on Friday, forcing the pick-six by Tycen Anderson, and the team is counting on Zachary Carter to have a huge leap in year two backing up B.J. Hill. So, there will be some stiff competition for interior spots again this year.

But, Tufele continues to make the most of his opportunities when called upon. Because of that, he remains a solid waiver wire get from last summer.