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Bengals Roster Breakdown As Training Camp Heads Into Final Week

S Jordan Battle talks to LB Markus Bailey during the Bengals-Falcons game in week 2 of the 2023 preseason.
S Jordan Battle talks to LB Markus Bailey during the Bengals-Falcons game in week 2 of the 2023 preseason.

A look at how the roster lines up as the Bengals begin their last week of camp Sunday. (Years of NFL service in parenthesis.)


Trevor Siemian (9), Joe Burrow (4), Reid Sinnett (2), Jake Browning (1).

Siemian and Browning put their strengths on display in windows of Friday's 13-13 verdict in Atlanta. Siemian's experience got them lined up for a microwave drive at the end of the half to produce a long field goal. At the end of the game, Browning generated their first touchdown of the preseason with his running ability that picked up yards and avoided sacks to go along with some astute passing. There was no separation coming in and if they're going by a go-ahead touchdown drive with 50 seconds left, then Browning has a slim lead.

Siemian did a good job getting the offense into it right away after watching the Falcons open the game with a ten-minute drive, hitting his first four passes for 41 yards, but they couldn't sustain it. The thing is, Siemian had the thing only 8:44 while Browning had it about double and he took good advantage.

Resourceful and nimble, Browning missed some throws and he'd like his interception back. But that was the product of turning a certain third-down sack into a chance with 5:35 left. He converted another third down with a split-second throw in the face of an unblocked safety blitz and he began the go-ahead drive with three completions to receivers making their only catches of the night in their practice squad bids.

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor gave both men the ball on fourth-and-short plays in field-goal range and both passes weren't converted. After Friday's game, Taylor wasn't ready to anoint a starter in Washington.

"I thought it was good. We got points on our last drive of each half, which is critical to gain some momentum there," Taylor said. "Trevor did a good job in a tight situation, putting us in field-goal range. He had to make an audible during the drive and he did a great job managing that. He stepped up in the pocket. Then at the end of the game, Jake obviously had the big drive that took us down to score a touchdown. He had made some plays with his legs and had to scramble. I thought he saw the field really well. I thought there were some positives to build off of for both of those guys."


Tyler Boyd (8), Trent Taylor (6), Stanley Morgan (5), Tee Higgins (4), Trenton Irwin (4), Ja'Marr Chase (3), Kwamie Lassitter II (1), Charlie Jones (R), Andrei Iosivas (R), Malachi Carter (R), Marc Hippenhammer (R), Shedrick Jackson (R).

Although they usually keep seven receivers as a heavy three-receiver team, they're not married to that and could always keep six. Certainly, Iosivas is one of them either way. His rapid development has been a pleasant surprise for them. Maybe the best thing he did for his cause to be active on game day was his one snap as a gunner, when he got there fast enough on rookie Brad Robbins' end-zone punt to force a roll instead of a catch.

Jones, who also figures to be one of six or seven, had a clever four catches (two third-down conversions) and made a good decision on an 11-yard punt return. Irwin, another one who seems to have an Opening Day job, drew a pass interference flag at the goal line that wasn't called on Falcons starting cornerback Dee Alford. The ultra-speedy Jackson, who did draw a flag, put his foot in the ground on a practice squad berth with a big second half of four catches for 42 yards, an acrobatic third-down catch on the sideline and that 30-yard pass interference penalty made possible by his 4.27-second speed.

As usual, that seventh receiver may come down to the age-old question. Who's better? The seventh receiver or the seventh cornerback?


Joe Mixon (7), Trayveon Williams (5), Chris Evans (3), Chase Brown (R), Jacob Saylers (R), Calvin Tyler Jr. (R).

You think they want to give Evans and Brown the work? In the two games, they're the only backs who have carried the ball. The rushing numbers are far from gaudy, but for the second straight week Evans gave the offense/special teams their longest play and Brown had some clutch short-yardage running. In Atlanta, Evans had a 35-yard kick return. Last week it was a 33-yard run. After converting two third-and-ones last week, Brown showed terrific second effort on the two runs from the 5 for the go-ahead touchdown.

And, according to Pro Football Focus, Brown's pass protection improved from week one to week two with the Bengals' second-best pass-blocking grade with no pressures on eight passes. When Willams (ankle) returns, they'll have their three guys behind Mixon.


Drew Sample (5), Irv Smith Jr. (5), Devin Asiasi (4), Tanner Hudson (4), Mitchell Wilcox (4), Nick Bowers (2), Christian Trahan (R).

What seemed to be a nod to Sample coming back from a knee injury that cost him pretty much all last season, he was a game captain Friday along with Atlanta-area product Cam Sample. Drew and right tackle Jonah Williams were the only offensive regulars to play and he caught a ball for 13 yards from a rolling-out Siemian on the first drive. Hudson (concussion) didn't play after making a huge push to be the guy behind Smith and Sample. Asiasi, roster incumbent, got plenty of looks with 36 snaps. Wilcox, who came on when Sample got hurt, has yet to be cleared.


RT La'el Collins (9), C Ted Karras (8), LG Alex Cappa (6), LT Orlando Brown (6), G-T Cody Ford (5); G-C Max Scharping (5), T Jonah Williams (5), G-T Hakeem Adeniji (4), G-T Jackson Carman (3), C-G Trey Hill (3), T D'Ante Smith (3), LG Cordell Volson (2), C Ben Brown (2), G Nate Gilliam (1), G Jaxson Kirkland (R).

Scharping got his first career start at center on a night the operation with the centers, quarterbacks and the rest of the line seemed so much smoother than in the opener. In the second half, he flipped spots with right guard Trey Hill and the protection provided a good pocket much of the time. According to PFF, the line allowed only two hits and 10 pressures on the quarterbacks. Carman had one of each, but he seemed to respond to playing the entire game at left tackle (the only Bengal to take all the snaps) after practicing all camp at right tackle until last week.

It was a night to experiment. Ford has drawn raves as a right guard in camp, but they started him at left guard and then tried him for a few snaps at right tackle as they look for two tackles to back up Williams and Brown. The PFF numbers weren't great for Ford and D'Ante Smith (combined five pressures), but they have been encouraged by their body of work in camp. They think it's the best Smith has looked in his three seasons.

They think they've got the talent to keep ten, but it usually ends up being nine because of other positions. Can they keep that trio of Ford, Scharping, and Hill? All three play two positions. Don't they need two backup tackles? They seem to have found the answer at right tackle with Williams only playing the first drive as the lone offensive depth chart starter who played Friday.


NT DJ Reader (8), E Tarell Basham (7), E Trey Hendrickson (7), T B.J. Hill (6), E Sam Hubbard (6), NT Josh Tupou (6), E-T Cam Sample (3), E-T Joseph Ossai (3), T Jay Tufele (3), T Zach Carter (2), E Jeff Gunter (2), E Raymond Johnson III (2), E Owen Carney (1), T Domenique Davis (1), E Myles Murphy (R), T Tautala Pesefea Jr. (R).

The No. 1s only played that opening ten-minute drive, where they got Ossai's interception off slot cornerback Mike Hilton's tip. But the men up front look to be ready. Falcons Pro Bowl guard Chris Lindstrom got nabbed for holding twice, Hendrickson just missed a sack, and Hubbard was the second highest-graded Bengals defender Friday via PFF. As defensive line coach Marion Hobby joked last week when told he's got seven each of tackles and ends, "Can you ask Coach if I can keep 14?"

The best he'll be able to do is probably ten and where's the room?

The trio who backed up Reader and Hill last season (Tupou, Carter, Tufele) showed up again Friday (Carter had three pressures and two tackles), and the three behind Hubbard and Hendrickson keep rushing. The underrated and invaluable Sample came home as a game captain, Ossai always seems to be in the frame (three pressures to go with the pick), and although Murphy was sidelined Friday with an illness, his size-speed ratio has been hard to miss in camp. It's been a tough camp for Basham, out most of it with an injury, and Gunter had another half-sack.

That said, the two best players here in preseason games are probably Johnson and Davis. Johnson, who forced a fumble last week, had a half-sack to go with three pressures and five tackles and was PFF's best Bengals defender. Davis had three pressures and five tackles, too, to lead the team. And one on third-and-two.


Germaine Pratt (5), Joe Bachie (4), Markus Bailey (4), Akeem Davis-Gaither (4), Logan Wilson (4), Keandre Jones (2), Shaka Heyward (R), Jaylen Moody (R), Tyler Murray (R).

If the D-Line is the club's most talented spot, this may be the hardest room to enter if you're not in the five. Wilson played all the snaps on the first drive and drew a hold on his first play with his new contract. Pratt played all but one play in his first action since his own new deal and had two tackles. And, the guys behind them may have been their best players on the field. Bachie bounced back from last week's chest injury for five tackles while Bailey flew around the ball all night on his 27 snaps, nearly had two picks, and was rated the Bengals' best pass defender by PFF. After playing just five snaps last week, Davis-Gaither got 27.


S Michael Thomas (10), CB Chidobe Awuzie (7), CB Mike Hilton (7), CB Sidney Jones IV (6), S Nick Scott (5), CB Jalen Davis (4), S Tycen Anderson (2), S Dax Hill (2), CB Cam Taylor-Britt (2), S Yusuf Corker (1), CB Allan George (1), S Jordan Battle (R), CB D.J. Turner II (R), CB D.J. Ivey (R), S Larry Brooks (R), CB Marvell Tell III (R).

Anderson, in a massive battle for that fourth and final safety spot, and Battle, who seems to have the third, dwarfed all the other safeties for playing time with their combined 83 snaps. While Anderson may not have stacked as spectacularly as last week, he did stack with a nice immediate tackle on a punt as a gunner and special teams is going to be his primary role, where he also had an assisted tackle. Battle found out it's not the SEC when he took a taunting penalty after a third-down stop in the red zone, but he also mixed it up in the run game and he had an effective blitz. It was the first time Hill (PFF's highest-rated DB) and Scott played in a game together and they saw what this defense is going to get all year from Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder. A lot of communication is needed on rollouts, motions, and quick throws and they got a 10-minute drive to settle in.

Six or seven corners? Turner didn't look out of place again with the starters as Awuzie readies for the opener. He had good position on the 21-yarder he gave up on third-and-12, but that was 6-4 Drake London beating 5-11. Taylor-Britt, by the way, is in mid-season tackling form. He missed one, but delivered two sure hits on the explosive pair of tight end Kyle Pitts and rookie running back Bijon Robinson. Hilton did it again with his tipped third-down pass to end that first drive.

After playing just seven snaps last week, Davis went for 24 and all he has done all camp is show why they covet him as Hilton's backup in the slot. On Friday he had a sack, four tackles, another one on special teams, and good boundary coverage that forced an incompletion on the Battle penalty. Ivey continues to flash. PFF had him as their highest-rated cornerback. He again mixed it up on the run with three tackles and made a terrific play on fourth-and-two when he had the presence of mind to dislodge the ball while in the air. Jones, who looked veteran solid before he hurt his hamstring on his last snap last week, didn't play.


K Evan McPherson (3), LS Cal Adomitis (2), P Drue Chrisman (2), P Brad Robbins (R).

In a nice feel-good moment, Chrisman's lone punt since coming back from his medical problem pinned the Falcons inside the ten. Robbins kept rolling with a 52-yarder out of his own end zone, knocked another one inside the 20, held for another 50-yarder cashed by Money Mac, and looks exactly like they thought he would look when they took him in the sixth round.

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