‘How’s Joe?’ Bengals coach Zac Taylor says ‘everything remains positive’ in QB’s rehab progress

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor said he’s been asked “hundreds” of times when out in public how Joe Burrow is coming along in his recovery from November wrist surgery, so he understands the seemingly repetitive question any time he faces the media.

His latest update Monday isn’t much different from past responses, but that’s a good sign.

Taylor, speaking in a press conference to kick off the start of the Bengals’ voluntary offseason workouts, said “everything remains positive” with Burrow’s recovery, and he is still tracking toward being able to participate in on-field work once Organized Team Activities begin at the end of May.

“It’s the No. 1 question I get asked in public, when I’m at basketball games or whatever it is, is ‘How’s Joe?’” Taylor said. “He’s a big part of what we’re doing, and I obviously understand the concern everybody has, but the guy has been through some rehab processes and so he knows how to attack it, he knows how to get his body back right where it needs to be. And so, I’m excited to see ... what the season will bring for him.”

Taylor said he doesn’t regularly ask Burrow about his progress. Those updates come from director of sports medicine and head athletic trainer Matt Summers and director of rehab Nick Cosgray, and as long as everything remains positive, there isn’t a need to question anything.

“If everything is on track, everything’s on track, and so Matt Summers and our staff there, you know, Nick Cosgray works with a lot of the rehab guys, they do a really good job, full confidence in them and full confidence the players are giving them what they need to give them,” Taylor said. “And so really, as a whole, our rehab, everybody’s been on track and hear positive reports on the pace that we think they need to be on.”

The Bengals had their first workouts Monday, along with a team meeting, but the first part of the program remains voluntary, and it’s unclear who was present and who was missing. Construction on the locker room forced the team to utilize a pair of auxiliary spaces, and not everyone in attendance could be seen during the media availability portion of the day.

Wide receiver Tee Higgins told reporters at his youth camp Sunday that he does anticipate playing for the Bengals this coming season, noting he has “grown a love for Cincy.” Taylor said he wasn’t going to speculate on who would be attending the voluntary workouts. The nine-week offseason program is voluntary until mandatory minicamp June 11-13.

Taylor declined to share what conversations have been like with Higgins recently, particularly after the player requested a trade following the Bengals’ decision to use a franchise tag to keep him on the roster.

“We’ll keep everything internal with our players,” Taylor said.

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Monday was the first day for players and coaches to connect in a team setting since the 2023 season ended short of the playoffs.

Since then, there have been several departures and new additions, including changes to the coaching staff with Justin Rascati (pass game coordinator), Jordan Salkin (offensive assistant), Ronnie Regula (defensive assistant) and Ben Jacobs (special teams assistant) coming on board in February. Free agency brought new players like tight end Mike Gesicki, running back Zack Moss, safety Geno Stone, defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins and right tackle Trent Brown, along with the return of strong safety Vonn Bell.

Taylor called it an “exciting” time with the players and coaches all coming together and getting to know one another, while preparations for next week’s NFL Draft also continue.

“Again, we just always want our guys to get a chance to feel like we’ve got the chemistry that’s going to be needed during the season and No. 2, give ourselves the best chance to hit training camp off and running,” Taylor said of his objectives for the offseason program. “So, making sure our guys get time in our schemes, get time with whatever we’re doing in the offseason, the on-air stuff, as we do it on the field, the 11-on-11, walkthrough type setting stuff, 7-on-7, special teams, the purpose of it all is to give guys a chance to put their best foot forward in late July when we show back up and get ready for the season. So those are things that we want to make sure over the nine weeks, those guys, they’ve got it down cold and so then when they get a chance to refresh it during their time off, they come back in training camp and be ready to help us go win.”

Taylor said this time period will be important second-year players to get a jump on taking big steps from their rookie campaigns, but it’s a transition period for newcomers to settle in, as well. Gesicki, a 28-year-old veteran who spent time with the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, said Monday felt a lot like the first day of school.

“I think the biggest thing is just getting here, meeting a whole new team, getting around the coaches and just proving yourself all over again,” Gesicki said. “It’s something I’m looking forward to. I’m happy to be here, and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

The Bengals on Monday announced the signing of long-snapper Cal Adomitis and backup linebacker Joe Bachie.

About the Author