The Cincinnati Bengals are heading to Tampa Bay for their first preseason game but before they left, they had one practice to get out of the way and in the books.
Let’s check out some of the takeaways from Thursday’s media session and practice.
Four key Bengals not playing on Saturday
During Zac Taylor’s presser, he mentioned that there would be four players who would not be taking the field in Tampa Bay. Those players are Joe Burrow, Trey Hopkins, Fred Johnson, and Larry Ogunjobi.
Burrow and Hopkins had surgery in the offseason for injuries they sustained last season while Johnson and Ogunjobi were injured at some point during training camp. Keeping these four players out on Saturday is the smartest move because three of the four are surefire starters while Johnson is the backup at right tackle.
Burrow might not be happy about having to sit on the sidelines this weekend but the Bengals are absolutely in the right here. One hit to Burrow could drastically change this season and that can’t happen. Taylor did say there’s a chance that Burrow could play at some point during the preseason but that’ll be a story for a different day.
Look out for Isaiah Prince and Gunnar Vogel
With no Johnson available for Saturday’s game and Hakeem Adeniji already out for what could be the entire season, it made sense for Jake Liscow to ask who is going to fill in when Jonah Williams and Riley Reiff exit the game.
Paul Dehner tweeted that Taylor touched on this during his presser and said that Isaiah Prince and Gunnar Vogel would be getting plenty of snaps.
Prince, a product of Ohio State who went in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, joined the team this offseason and briefly spent time with the Dolphins, the team who drafted him. He was waived late in his rookie year and the Bengals added him to their roster, where he’s remained ever since.
Vogel was just signed last month after going undrafted out of Northwestern. He started 18 games for the Wildcats and was efficient against the run but for the most part, wasn’t thought to be of anything more than a depth piece or a camp body.
This will be a good opportunity for both Prince and Vogel to show that they belong on the final 53-man roster.
Jessie Bates spoke on the contract situation
For anyone following Bengals news this week, you’ll know that reports indicated an extension for Jessie Bates won’t happen before the season. This is unfortunate for Bates, who is one of the best players on the Bengals’ defense and one of the best safeties in the league.
The quote that stood out from Bates was when he said he must not have done enough to prove that he’s one of the best safeties in the league. Bengals fans know this isn’t true but the good news is that Bates is handling this like a pro.
Rotation of Guards
The biggest battle for the Bengals this offseason has been at the two guard positions. Left tackle, center, and right tackle are shored up but left guard and right guard still are vacant for whoever wants to swoop in and win the job.
Cincinnati has been rotating who mans the two guard spots but Taylor told the media that it’ll be consistent with the first-team and second-team players on Saturday’s game.
With Quinton Spain and Michael Jordan being the starting left guard and right guard per the first official depth chart, that means these two will get the starting reps on Saturday. Once they leave the field, it’ll be rookie D’Ante Smith filling in for Spain and Xavier Su’a-Filo taking over for Jordan. Jackson Carman won’t take the field until it’s the third-stringers time to play.
Offensive guard is the position to watch as we inch closer to the regular season but the spotlight will be the brightest in this first preseason game. Hopefully, Spain and Jordan look good and hold onto their positions.
These were the takeaways from Thursday and now, the next thing to look forward to is Saturday’s game against the Buccaneers!