Cincinnati Bengals: QB Plitt’s days could be numbered, despite perfect passer rating

CINCINNATI --Drew Plitt knows his days with the Cincinnati Bengals could be numbered.

As soon as Joe Burrow returns, Plitt, the former Ball State quarterback and Loveland High School product could be out of a job, but he is making the most of his opportunities until then to at least show the rest of the league he brings value. Burrow returned practice Sunday.

Despite Plitt leading an impressive drive to close Friday’s preseason opener, the Bengals likely won’t need four quarterbacks on the roster with Burrow’s return following his recovery from an appendectomy. Plitt, a late pickup to ensure the team would have three quarterbacks available, could still compete for a practice squad role, but Cincinnati will have a hard time keeping him around while cuts to the roster need to be made.

On Sunday, the Bengals waived three players, including wide receiver Pooka Williams, who muffed a punt return Friday, and cornerback Abu Daramy-Swaray and halfback Shermari Jones.

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“That’s part of the game,” Plitt said when asked about his own uncertain future. “For me, going out there was to take advantage of the opportunity that I have in front of me. That’s what I try to do – just go out and play football. Whatever happens, happens. It’s a business, but I’m going to go out there every day and take advantage of the opportunity.”

Plitt certainly drew some attention to himself Friday against Arizona when he capped a 94-yard scoring drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass to fellow undrafted college free agent Kendric Pryor. He completed all six of his passes for 76 yards and a perfect passer rating of 158.3.

The 6-foot-2, 206-pound quarterback had been on Cincinnati’s radar since he participated in a local player workout before the draft. He played in 46 career games for Ball State with 36 starts and completed 62.4 percent of his passes for 9,062 yards and 68 touchdowns, while also rushing for 423 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Plitt knew his reps would be limited in camp coming in as a fourth quarterback but any chance to get in front of coaches and put something on film would be beneficial.

“It was a weight off my shoulders to be able to get in there and get those first couple reps,” Plitt said. “Going six-for-six is something you want to start your first drive (with), but I had a lot of help from the wide receivers, the offensive line and everybody all around me. At the end, it was a thriller, but starting it, it was a weight off the shoulders.”

Plitt also threw a 30-yard pass to Pryor early in that last drive, a play coach Zac Taylor had to challenge to get the one-handed catch to count.

“We want to score points,” Taylor said of throwing a challenge flag in a preseason game. “Kendric made a great catch. Drew (Plitt) made a really good throw that allowed him to have a chance there with a safety coming over the top. You want to reward those guys. We were starting to get some momentum there; we just scored a touchdown on the drive before and want score again. It gave us momentum going into this week.”

Plitt said he grabbed the ball while Pryor was celebrating and he plans to keep it in a case, unless Pryor tries to make a claim for it. He would be OK cutting it in half so they could share it.

Pryor, a college free agent addition out of Wisconsin, has been enjoying a strong training camp, but his phone was blowing up with messages after his performance Friday.

Plitt, being a Greater Cincinnati area native, had plenty of family and friends in attendance at the game. For him, it was a special moment just being on the field in a Bengals uniform but especially to have a performance like that.

“Just excitement, thrill,” Plitt said. “For me, it’s a dream come true. I know it’s a cliché, but I’m going to say it all the time. Growing up in this city and being able to come to work here every day, and it’s really not a job if you look at it the way I am. It’s awesome.”

The last time Plitt attended a game at the newly renamed Paycor Stadium, he watched from the stands as the Bengals won the AFC North with a thrilling win over the Kansas City Chiefs last December. His season with Ball State had already ended, so he and his family went to the game.

In the grand scheme of things, his performance Friday pales in comparison to anything that happened on the field that day, but he tried to approach the game as though it wasn’t any different.

“I just wanted go out there and play football,” Plitt said. “At the end of the day, that’s what it is. I’m confident in what I can do and my abilities, and to me it was just going out and making the throws and executing what was called.”

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