Bengals down to two QBs after Patriots sign third-stringer off practice squad

While Joe Burrow’s status uncertain for Monday night’s game against the L.A. Rams, the Cincinnati Bengals find themselves in an even greater predicament than expected.

Not only are the Bengals preparing second-string quarterback Jake Browning for a potential start in the case Burrow’s “tweaked” right calf isn’t healthy enough to play on, but also they are now on the hunt for a potential backup to Browning.

On Thursday evening, the New England Patriots plucked Will Grier off the Bengals’ practice squad, as he will be signed to their active roster, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Grier signed with the Bengals practice squad last month after being cut by the Cowboys, and he practiced Thursday alongside Browning while Burrow watched as a non-participant.

Bengals coach Zac Taylor had been asked in his afternoon press conference if Grier had enough time yet to create a backup quarterback competition, and Taylor indicated it he was “still in the process of learning.”

“He’s done a great job trying to accelerate it,” Taylor said of Grier. “I just saw him with (quarterback coach Dan) Pitch going over it again, so he’s doing a great job, doing everything he can to prepare himself. The challenging part when you get a guy at the start of the season is you’re past the install phase of things and you’re into the game plan thing. So it’s not the nuts and bolts of the offense. Now it’s gameplanning for Cleveland and Baltimore and LA. So him mix and matching what we would be asked to go in and do if we ever got to that point in the season, and what we’d ask our other quarterbacks to do because of their time on task is a little bit different. But I enjoy being around him. He’s what we thought he was when we got him. And we’ll continue to evaluate him as we go.”

Browning had beaten out Trevor Siemian for the backup job in training camp, and the Bengals terminated his contract. Siemian remains a free agent.

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