Bengals: Tee Higgins, Jessie Bates back at practice ahead of Week 5

Leigh Oleszczak
Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals were without two key second-round picks in their Thursday night win over the Jaguars last week. Jessie Bates missed the game due to a neck injury while Tee Higgins missed his second straight game with a shoulder injury.

The absence of Bates was definitely felt more, as the defense looked like a shell of itself without the star safety. He had yet to miss a game in his prominent career and the Bengals defense certainly looked lost without him, begging the question — Why hasn’t the team extended this guy yet?

As for Higgins, the offense got off to a slow start but found their footing in the second half, scoring all 24 of their points in the final two quarters of action.

Tyler Boyd, Ja’Marr Chase, and C.J. Uzomah were just fine in Higgins’ absence but it’ll be great having him back. The more weapons for Joe Burrow, the merrier!

Jessie Bates and Tee Higgins are back at Bengals practice!

The Bengals will need all of the healthy players they can get this weekend, as they prepare to host the 3-1 Green Bay Packers. This is the first true test for this defense, which has been a surprising unit through the first four weeks of the 2021 season.

It’s one thing to limit the likes of Kirk Cousins, Andy Dalton, Justin Fields, an aging Ben Roethlisberger, and rookie Trevor Lawrence. It’s quite another to limit reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers but that’s what the defense will have to do this weekend.

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Bates should help the defense get back to its Weeks 1-3 form and Higgins will be another key target for Burrow as he looks to build on that prolific performance he put on during Thursday Night Football.