Bengals saw ‘good competition’ in first practice against Rams

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was hoping L.A. Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald would “lay off” him a little bit going into a pair of joint practices between the teams.

At the same time he was hoping for a little contact because “it doesn’t feel like football without it.”

The Bengals’ practice Wednesday against the Rams didn’t bring any real hits to “Joey Franchise,” but he did face pressure from an opposing defense in the first of two sessions that will serve as his preseason competition. Donald did get one slight tap on him that drew some ire but no serious incidents.

“Practice is practice,” Burrow said when asked what would be considered too close for a defender to get to him. “Guys are gonna get close. You just try to protect yourself if somebody decides to go rogue.”

Burrow took part in the full practice as he had expected, 10 days after he first got back on the field in pads following a delay because of an appendectomy. He called it a good way for the Bengals to break up the monotony of facing their own teammates all camp but also a chance for him to test out throws against another good defense.

Asked if he was looking forward to seeing how his receivers stack up with cornerback Jalen Ramsey these practices, Burrow said he wasn’t keying in on any particular matchups.

“I would say if I get my guys 1-on-1, we’re going to take it at any point in the year,” Burrow said. “But we’re also going to run the ball really well.”

The Rams were also the last opponent Cincinnati faced last season, a heartbreaking loss in the Super Bowl. Much was made about the reunion of the teams, but Burrow downplayed any lingering feelings of how that last game ended.

Safety Vonn Bell was more candid, smiling at the question of whether there would be any concern about chippy play or fighting.

“There’s some animosity because of what happened the last game but you got to hold off your emptions and get some good work in and make sure everyone competes and make sure the group is getting good work in,” Bell said.

After practice Mike Hilton said he didn’t notice any trash talking, though. The coaching staffs for both teams reiterated the need to keep calm before practice.

“That’s always the expectation, but both teams are just here to get the work in,” Hilton said. “Obviously we know we played each other a couple months ago in the big game, but they weren’t too much bragging about it, trying to throw it in our face, so it was good competition.”

Chase vs. Ramsey

Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase matched up some Ramsey, as they did in the Super Bowl, but it wasn’t as much as one might have expected. Chase said that is because Ramsey was playing more as a nickel corner.

“It was a good experience going against the L.A. Rams,” Chase said after practice. “It was a good competition all over. They know some of our stuff already from the championship, but it was good competition all around.”

Injury updates and participation

Right tackle La’el Collins played some limited snaps in 11 on 11s for his first live team snaps of camp, but was held back for the majority of those drills out of precaution.

Cornerback Eli Apple was one unexpected absence, but Taylor said he had some fluid drained from his quadriceps and would miss Wednesday and Thursday practices.

Backup offensive tackle Isaiah Prince remains out with a biceps injury, but battling left guard Jackson Carman resumed practice after testing positive for COVID-19 last week.

Late in practice on the final play of two-minute drill for the defense, Bengals cornerbacks Tre Flowers and Hilton collided trying to make a play on a Matthew Stafford pass intended for Cooper Kupp. Bell picked it off, and both Flowers and Hilton seemed a bit shaken up but walked off on their own power.

Hilton said he banged up his knee a little bit but they were both fine.

About the Author