Bengals Notes: Joe Burrow and the Offense Struggle, Defense Embracing New Identity

Cincinnati's offense is off to a slow start.

CINCINNATI — The Bengals defense continues to be the talk of training camp. They continued to dominate Joe Burrow and the offense on Monday. 

The defense forced multiple turnovers, including a Germaine Pratt interception in 11-on-11 drills. 

Jessie Bates stripped rookie wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase. The fifth overall pick stopped and turned to make a catch while running a cross route and the Bengals' star safety was waiting. 

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The forced fumble is exactly what defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo and the rest of this coaching staff is hoping to see more of this season. The Bengals only forced 17 turnovers in 2020. That number has to go up if they're going to win more games. 

Veteran cornerback Mike Hilton brought a chart with him from Pittsburgh that keeps track of loafs, forced fumbles, missed assignments, interceptions, etc. When a player messes up he has to put money in the pot. It's one way of keeping himself and his teammates accountable in their quest for more takeaways. 

"This is just something I learned from guys like Joe Haden, you know, who I played with for a couple years," Hilton said on Monday. "He kind of designed this fine system for some guys in the secondary, you know loafs, missed assignments, dropped interceptions, things that really show what we're about. As a defense, the secondary, you want to make sure your loafs and everything are as minimal as possible. So I brought that over. Guys have invested in it, and I feel like it's been working well for us.

"When I came over, I told myself, I want to hold this group accountable. I have to earn my stripes, though. I have to show that I'm a leader on the field, and I feel like this is the first step."

Hilton's message has been well received and so far, the Bengals' defense has the early lead in training camp. 

Burrow Stays Late

Burrow and the offense struggled on Monday, but that didn't stop them from staying after practice. The star quarterback threw deep passes to Tee Higgins and Chase for a few minutes after practice. 

There are high expectations for this offense and a frustrating practice like Monday could be all the motivation they need to turn things around.  

Time For Pads

The Bengals' first full padded practice is on Tuesday. This will be our first look at the revamped offensive line and how they look against Sam Hubbard, Trey Hendrickson, DJ Reader and company. 

This will also be our first time seeing Burrow in full pads since he suffered that devastating knee injury last November. 

Impressive Start

Trent Taylor has been one of the lone bright spots on offense. The 27-year-old has made multiple circus catches out of the slot and has shown he still has plenty of burst after being plagued by injuries in recent seasons. 

"He's been in this league several years, been in a very similar system so it's not foreign to him, so he's able to play fast," head coach Zac Taylor said on Saturday. "It might not be the same name of the play that he's used to, but he can recognize the concept and say OK, I know that concept, we ran it in San Francisco. And yesterday [Friday] you saw him make two great catches, the one on the shallow cross at the goal line and then that far pylon route, that was a great job throwing him open there by, I think it was Brandon. And then he went and made a great top-tap play in the back of the end zone, so he's done a nice job. He's really detailed." 

Taylor is also in the mix to be the Bengals' starting punt returner. It's early, but he's on track to make the final 53-man roster. 

Carman Time?

Rookie offensive lineman Jackson Carman took first-team reps at right guard on Monday. He lined up with the third group last week. 

Tuesday's first padded practice will give everyone—including the coaching staff—a better idea of where Carman is in his development. 

It's worth noting that Michael Jordan saw some snaps with the first team at left guard.

To watch highlights from Monday's practice, go here

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