CINCINNATI — The Bengals officially ruled out Joe Burrow for Friday's game in Washington, but that didn't stop the second-year quarterback from connecting with his newest weapon during Monday's practice.
Burrow went to Ja'Marr Chase early and often during 11-on-11's. The fifth overall picked looked as comfortable as we've seen him all camp.
Chase beat Chidobe Awuzie and Trae Waynes multiple times en route to three touchdown grabs in the period.
"He's done a really nice job improving. The great thing about Ja'Marr is he's super, super coachable," Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said before practice. "He listens to everything that [wide receivers coach] Troy (Walters) tries to get him to do offensively where he fits. The biggest jump that you make is the technique has to be on point. You don't get to beat people just because you are better than they are in the NFL. The technique has to be good, and he's learning to use his hands, learning how to release vs. press. The great thing about our defense is they are really aggressive at the line of scrimmage and so he's had to expand his toolbox. I think every day he's been out there he's gotten better and better learning how to use his speed, how to use his technique and leverage has been fun to watch. I'm excited about the improvements still to come."
Chase was uncoverable for most of practice. He beat Awuzie deep downfield in what would've been the cherry on top of his best day of camp, but Burrow's throw was short, which gave the veteran corner some time to catch Chase and make a play on the ball.
Burrow looked confident and comfortable on Monday. It helps that his No. 1 wide receiver was dominating, but he didn't hesitate to pull it down and run when pressured. He looked like the same guy that ran 23-yards for his first NFL touchdown in his debut.
The Bengals' offense marched straight downfield and scored on their first drive during 11-on-11s. They actually scored twice after Chase's toe-tap touchdown was ruled out of bounds.
On the next play, Burrow threw a perfect strike to Chase off his back foot despite being pressured. The 21-year old hauled it in for the second of his three scores.
Burrow won't play this week against Washington, despite the progress he's making.
"We’re just not there yet. He could do it, I’m sure he wants to do it," Bengals head coach Taylor said. "But again, our No. 1 thing is making sure our guys are ready to play in Week 1 against Minnesota so putting him out there is just not what we’re going to do."
Offensive Line Shuffle
The Bengals' hunt for quality guard play continued on Monday. Both Quinton Spain and D'Ante Smith spent time with the first-team at left guard.
Michael Jordan took all of the first-team reps at right guard. Xavier Su'a-Filo and Jackson Carman are also in the mix.
"The interior competition is going to go well to the beginning of the season," Callahan said. "There are going to be a lot of rotating and shuffling as we move through these next two games and next few weeks."
Most expected Carman to start, but the rookie has gotten off to a shaky start. The Bengals are hoping he can build off of what he did against the Buccaneers as he continues to adjust to life in the NFL.
"He is physical and he's strong, it's just a matter of reining that in, getting the technique down," Callahan said. "I thought there was some good and some bad, but plenty to improve on for him."
Carman worked with the third-team on Monday. He still has an uphill battle if he's going to be one of the Bengals' Week 1 starters.
Evan McPherson continues to crush the ball. He went 6-for-6 on field goal attempts on Monday, including three from 50+ yards (50, 53, 54).
He was 2-for-2 in Saturday night's game against Tampa Bay.
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