4 gambles the Bengals are taking with 53-man roster cuts

  • Punt Returner
  • Backup QB
  • OL Depth
  • DL

Jul 28, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; The Cincinnati Bengals offensive line gather for stretching
Jul 28, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; The Cincinnati Bengals offensive line gather for stretching / The Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY
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3. Backup quarterback

The backup quarterback role is another area where the Bengals are taking a risk. Based on their preseason performances, the team made the correct decision on Jake Browning over Trevor Siemian. Now Zac Taylor and Brian Callahan are betting on Browning being the best option of all the available quarterbacks on the waiver wire and practice squads. 

The team was able to hedge their bets when they convinced former third-round pick Will Grier to sign with the practice squad. The former Carolina quarterback is headed into his fifth season. He started two games for the Panthers, where he threw 28 completions on 53 attempts for 228 yards, zero touchdowns, and four interceptions. 

Because neither Browning nor Siemian set the world on fire in the preseason, the backup quarterback role entered the spotlight. Adding to this was the speculation that Burrow may not be at 100% for the home opener with a calf injury.

The local media is confident that the star QB will be ready for the season opener against Cleveland. This is despite not seeing him practice in full team drills. Now that the regular season media availability has begun, they still won’t know if Burrow is a full participant in team drills unless the team releases that information. 

The national media are less convinced that Burrow will be healthy enough to play in the Battle of Ohio. They base their speculation on what Ja’Marr Chase said a month ago and what Coach Taylor is not saying. 

Let’s hope the Bengals made the best bet by going with Browning and bringing in Will Grier as insurance. We should hope even more that the backup quarterback role does not come into play at all during the season. That is other than mop-up duty in a blowout victory.