Bengals Camp: Day 4 Joe Burrow Bounces Back, Trent Taylor Impresses

Joe Mixon shows off his stretch in the run game.

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Joe Burrow calls a play Saturday during in-stadium practice at Paul Brown Stadium in "Back Together" event. (Mike Petraglia, CLNS Media)

CINCINNATI — About 10,000 fans spent a gray Saturday afternoon inside Paul Brown Stadium and were treated to Joe Burrow firing the football from sideline to sideline and running around on bootlegs without any sign of a limp.

The event was part of the league-wide promotion “Back Together” to open stadium venues to fans after the pandemic closed most for a large portion of the 2020 season.

The quarterback who struggled on Friday looked more fluid on Saturday, particularly between the 20s.

The highlight was a rollout boot in which Burrow threw over Chidobe Awuzie and Ja’Marr Chase made a diving catch just before falling out of bounds on the far sideline.

Chase also made a difficult catch look routine when Burrow, rolling out to his right, fired a 10-yard pass to Chase in stride. Burrow kept his stride, reached out and caught the ball and kept running.

Burrow was 2-for-5 in goal-to-go situations, with the highlight coming on a fade to the far pylon to Tee Higgins. Higgins made a diving catch for the TD. Burrow also picked up pressure and completed a pass to Trayveon Williams for the score. His two attempts for Ja’Marr Chase were incomplete. He also had another to Higgins fall incomplete.

Other highlights in the passing game included another strong day from Trent Taylor. The former 49ers slot receiver made a one-handed diving front pylon for a touchdown on a pass from Brandon Allen. Taylor also caught a pass on the near sideline.

The run game also gave fans something to cheer about as Joe Mixon showed his outside stretch run game, bursting off the right side and beating linebacker Germaine Pratt down the sideline for the touchdown, with Mixon playing to the crowd for the final 30 yards.

The stretch/outside run game figures to be a huge part of what the Bengals do this year under new offensive line coach Frank Pollack. The new offensive line coach suggested as much on Friday.

On special teams, Taylor, Tyler Boyd and Pooka Williams took the majority of snaps in returning punts, with Taylor breaking through and showing his breakaway speed. Darius Phillips and Trenton Irwin also got their chances.

Both Austin Siebert and Evan McPherson had strong showings again in the field goal kicking game, with both going 4-for-4 from 37, 41, 47 and 53 yards. Their only misses were from 60, as Siebert missed wide right and McPherson missed wide left.

The secondary had another strong day, the final in shorts and shells before Tuesday’s first padded practice.

The Bengals will have Sunday off and will return to practice on Monday. But that practice will only be in shorts and shirts, similar to the first two days of camp on Wednesday and Thursday.

Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo made note Saturday of the high IQ this defense possesses and what kind of impact it could have in 2021. Three of those players are Jesse Bates III, Vonn Bell and linebacker Logan Wilson.

Saturday, Anarumo and his defense went through a long pre-practice install on the Paul Brown Stadium field, adding in more signals and looks.

“I mean, right now, here’s the good news, at each level of the defense, there’s guys are coming to me with questions that are almost at the level of the coaching. ‘Hey, coach, what, what if this happens?’ I always tell them ‘this is a 100 level course’ when comparing to college,” Anarumo said. “Like (Saturday), we had a 400 level lesser out there. Germaine Pratt made an adjustment. I said, ‘Hey Germaine, that’s 400 level.’ We’re on a 400 level course here today. It was really good. And so, I think it’s coming from each level of the group right now, which is terrific.

“There’s been changeover but there are similar concepts from places they’ve been, which helps but the more we do it together, the better we’ll be.”