Taylor served as an assistant wide receivers coach in 2017 and quarterbacks coach in 2018, and that relationship played a big factor in the decision to hold the joint practices.
“It’s important,” Taylor said. “I think every time I’ve ever done it, the head coaches always had good relationships, were able to manage their teams, know how to practice the right way. We know what we’re going to get from them from a practice structure-wise. They know how ours is. So, it’s not different philosophies in terms of how we practice. I think it’ll be good for both clubs.”
The practices could be more entertaining than the actual preseason game since the starters likely won’t see much playing time but will participate in the practices.
Those will be good opportunities to see how much improved the Bengals’ offensive line is this year after Joe Burrow took seven sacks in the Super Bowl, including two by Aaron Donald. Donald almost sacked him a third time as Burrow was attempting a fourth-down pass at the end of the game. That pressure prevented the NFL Comeback Player of the Year from getting enough time to throw to an open Ja’Marr Chase down the sideline after Chase beat Jalen Ramsey on a go route.
Neither team will be the same, but Cincinnati signed three new starters on the offensive line with free agent additions Alex Cappa, Ted Karras and La’el Collins, and the joint practices could be a good test.
Taylor said the game — and the other two preseason matches — still could be a tool for evaluating potential starters like Jackson Carman, who currently is lining up with the first-team offense for the open left guard job. He will be competing with others like Hakeem Adeniji and D’Ante Smith, who also could be getting more opportunities the next two weeks while Cappa is being evaluated and held out because of a core muscle issue that Taylor said is “nothing overly concerning.”
The depth chart for the offensive line may not get sorted until after the final preseason game.
“I think there’s still plenty of opportunity for guys,” Taylor said. “Maybe Joe Burrow’s not playing as much, but there’s other guys that you want to put into situations where they’ve got to take some reps. We’ll evaluate who that is, but I think for second-year offensive linemen, they’ve had one year in the NFL. They’ve had an early chance to see how physical it is, how fast it is, how different it is. So the second training camp is really a big deal not only for Jackson, but Trey Hill and D’Ante (Smith) and all those other second-year guys, so really excited to see that group of guys that we drafted last year take that next step in the offseason and training camp.”