Bengals High 5: Five questions with rookie wide receiver Josh Malone

The Cincinnati Bengals took a wide receiver with their first pick in this year’s draft, but the one they selected in the fourth round is getting more opportunity to make an impact.

Former University of Tennessee wideout Josh Malone has appeared in six games, three more than first-round pick John Ross, and he was given one big chance Sunday in the Bengals’ win over Cleveland.

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Quarterback Andy Dalton threw him a deep pass on third-and-5 from the 40-yard line in the fourth quarter, and although Malone didn’t complete the catch, the play resulted in a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on Jabrill Peppers, who hit Malone with a helmet to the chin. Cincinnati went on to score a touchdown on the drive to extend its lead to 30-16 with 2:57 left.

Malone talked about that play, what’s happening at UT and more.

Q: How do you feel your rookie season is going so far?

A: I feel like it’s going fine. I’m just playing my role and trying to help the team any way I can. The chemistry with Andy is coming along well, and I’m just doing everything I can to improve my skill set so I can help the team and get more opportunities.

Q: Did it mean anything to you that Andy Dalton was willing to throw deep to you in that situation in the fourth quarter Sunday?

A: I was just happy for the opportunity to make a play for him and for him trusting me. Anytime I’m on the field I expect the ball every play I’m out there, so I run every route to win. I just really appreciated the opportunity and I’m glad it worked out.

Q: Being a UT guy, what have you thought about the current situation there and the search to replace Butch Jones?

A: To be honest, I haven’t been focused on that because I’m not there anymore. Really, I’ve just been focusing on Pittsburgh right now. It’s getting drawn out, but they will get that figured out when it’s time. Most everyone that I talk to still at UT, their last game was when they played Vanderbilt because they aren’t bowl eligible, so they’re just kind of living their lives and just trying to figure out what they are about to do.

Q: You’ll see a couple of your old teammates Monday with the Steelers coming here, like backup quarterback Josh Dobbs and cornerback Cameron Sutton. Sutton was active last week, so there’s a chance you could face him. What will it be like seeing them again?

A: When we went up there I had a chance to talk to them, and I’ll try to catch up with them when they come here too. I’m looking forward to seeing them. Cameron is a good corner so it would be fun to match up with him. Josh was a real mobile quarterback, very trusting of his receivers and just makes plays so hopefully he gets his opportunity (to play) at some point.

Q: What’s your pre-game routine?

I’m really quiet and reserved, so I stay low-key. I like music, but right before the game, I just relax and try to take my mind off the game.

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