Bengals HC Zac Taylor called the 2021 Bengals “a different team” while acknowledging that the organization has had to overcome a lot of adversity in recent years to get to this point.
“It’s a different team,” Taylor said, via the team’s official website. “We’re allowed to build and improve, and we just have a different mentality right now. We’ve done a lot of different things to get to this position, and I’ve given out a lot of tough speeches over time about great things to come and [to] keep working. And you hope and pray that the team believes in that. That’s the foundation of what we’re building, and this is the result. This is their moment. Everything we’ve talked about, we’ve earned. We’re starting to earn respect, but we still have a long way to go.”
The Bengals offensive line did a good job keeping QB Joe Burrow upright, which allowed him to play loose and put the ball in a position for his guys to go make a play.
“Obviously last year wasn’t very fun. Today was a lot of fun,” Burrow said. “Now it just really comes from preparation during the week and getting a lot of extra reps with the guys and our guys on the outside making plays. There wasn’t a ton for me to do today apart from trying to protect the ball. It was putting balls in positions where our guys could go make plays.”
First-round rookie WR Ja’Marr Chase had an outstanding day, bringing in eight catches for 201 yards and a score. Burrow praised Chase for being able to win his one-on-one matchup consistently against Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey.
“I mean there were several times in the second half where that happened where there is zero check where he had Marlon Humphrey – who I think is the best corner in the league,” Burrow said. And (the Ravens) play that way because they have that guy to play a zero blitz and put him one on one, and Ja’Marr did a great job against him today. There are multiple times where he got that guy one on one and won his one-on-one matchup.”
Bengals TE C.J. Uzomah also contributed with two touchdowns on National Tight End Day.
“We just had a ton of confidence in him. C.J. started off last year with a bang in his first two games before he got hurt,” Taylor said. “And it was hard to see in training camp how he was responding to that physically. But, he’s found his spot. Joe has a lot of confidence in him, and he always makes plays when his number is called. He broke a bunch of tackles on both of his touchdowns. So, it was good to see C.J. do that. And it was ‘national tight end day’ today. So, that kind plays into it as well.”
- Burrow on the win being significant for the team going forward: “I think it was a big statement.” (Conway)
- Taylor mentioned sixth-round RB Chris Evans is day-to-day with a hamstring injury. (Ben Baby)
- ESPN’s Dan Graziano writes that he knows the Browns would sign QB Baker Mayfield to an extension for the right price, which is somewhere in the mid-to-high $30 millions a year range.
- Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports that Browns’ WR Odell Beckham is playing through significant injuries to both of his shoulders and plans to continue playing this year without any surgeries.
- USA Today’s Josina Anderson reports the Browns expect RB Nick Chubb to be able to return this week from his calf injury.
- Browns RT Jack Conklin and CB A.J. Green returned to practice along with Chubb. (Nate Ulrich)
- Beckham was also practicing on Monday. (Scott Petrak)
- Mayfield is among those not practicing, along with WR Jarvis Landry, S John Johnson, TE David Njoku, C J.C. Tretter, DL Malik Jackson and CB Denzel Ward. (Ulrich)
- Browns DT Malik McDowell was fined $3,667 for unnecessary roughness against the Cardinals. (Ulrich)
- Browns LT Jedrick Wills said he has suffered multiple ankle sprains so far this year but is fully recovered. (Ulrich)
- NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports RT Patrick Mekari has a high ankle sprain that the team will assess after the bye.
- Ravens HC John Harbaugh said DT Derek Wolfe is close to returning either this week or the following week. (Jeff Zrebiec)