Bengals Coverage

Bengals Beat: Joe Burrow Questionable Monday, AJ McCarron Returns, Ja’Marr Chase Talks It Out With Brian Callahan

CINCINNATI — We’ll see.

Those have been the go-to words uttered by Zac Taylor all week regarding the status of quarterback Joe Burrow. He repeated them after Saturday’s final practice of the week in preparation for Monday night’s showdown with Aaron Donald and the Los Angeles Rams.

The quarterback nursing a right calf strain is one big question mark for the game that stands between the Bengals and an 0-3 start.

Burrow took part in Friday’s padded practice and was on the field again Saturday, taking part in the red zone execution drills. Burrow looked healthy. He warmed up vigorously, jogged, made several accurate touch throws.

But that’s without Aaron Donald barrelling down on him like he was in Super Bowl LVI. How Burrow’s comfort with translate from Saturday morning to Monday night is totally unknown at this point.

But Taylor did indicate that Burrow looked strong.

“He looked good,” Taylor said. “We’ll see. We’ve got two days before the game, 48 hours,” said Taylor, who confirmed that Burrow will be questionable heading into the game.

“It’s really day-to-day,” Taylor said. “We’ll have conversations and see where it goes but I thought he looked good today.”

That’s the thing with Burrow’s situation. It truly has to be day-to-day since a soft-tissue injury that is still healing can feel vastly different with each passing day. Burrow is trying to play the NFL quarterback position while managing this injury.

Whether Burrow plays is anyone’s guess at this point. That’s part of NFL gameplanning and preparedness. Every head coach knows that.

If Burrow can’t go, then it’s up to Jake Browning, making his first career NFL appearance in a regular season game.

“Good, good. He’s embraced the opportunity,” Taylor said. “So, he’s just got to get himself ready to play Monday Night Football.

“Part of the reason Jake’s where he’s at for us is his confidence and just the way that he operates and the confidence that he’s got himself,” Taylor told me. “And that’s really shown this week because he’s had more opportunity this week than he has in the past year. Plenty of opportunity training camp. And so I like what I’ve seen from Jake in the way that he’s operated.”

  • AJ Back in the House:
  • AJ McCarron was signed to the Bengals practice squad on Saturday. He will take the place Reid Sinnett on the practice squad. Sinnett was signed Thursday night after the Patriots plucked Will Grier off the practice and added him to their 53-man roster.

    McCarron, the quarterback who nearly led one of the great comebacks in Bengals playoff history was back in the building Saturday, taking part in a workout for the Bengals. He was joined by Trace McSorely. Both quarterbacks worked out for the Bengals after Saturday’s practice.

    After a brief workout, the Bengals made the decision to bring McCarron back.

  • Get in the Chase:
  • Whoever is the quarterback Monday night, one thing is for certain: the Bengals are going to try and get the ball downfield to Ja’Marr Chase. The star receiver has been held to 10 catches this season for 70 yards, no touchdowns and a long of 13 yards. The explosiveness has not been there, leading Chase to ask Monday for more shots downfield. But Chase said Friday he and offensive coordinator Brian Callahan had a good conversation about get more opportunities down field.

    “I had a one-on-one with Cally and basically told him what was going on,” Chase said. “We just went back to the basics, same old stuff, making sure we get our playmakers the ball in space. We’re going to take our shots when we get the right defense and opportunity. We’re going to still take our shots.

    “I respect Cally for that, for respecting my mind and where I want to be at,” Chase said of his outspoken comments from Monday. That’s just me pushing myself to be a better person than I already am. Cally is lifting me from being hard on myself, like I was as a rookie. Cally’s just reminding me to let the game come to me and keep playing my game, and they’re always going to find a way to get me the ball.

    “I’m a playmaker. I 100 percent believe that in myself. Everyone on this team knows that. That’s my job. I play this game with a lot of passion and when I don’t make plays, I get on myself about it.”

    Irv Smith Jr. Doubtful:
    Quarterback likely won’t be the only depth position tested Monday. The Bengals have listed tight end Irv Smith Jr. as doubtful with a hamstring issue. This means more reps for Drew Sample and Mitchell Wilcox and the likely promotion of Tanner Hudson of the practice squad.

    Mike Petraglia

    Joined CLNS Media in 2017. Covered Boston sports as a radio broadcaster, reporter, columnist and TV and video talent since 1993. Covered Boston Red Sox for MLB.com from 2000-2007 and the New England Patriots for ESPN Radio, WBZ-AM, SiriusXM, WEEI, WEEI.com and CLNS since 1993. Featured columnist for the Boston Celtics on CelticsBlog.

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