Bengals head coach Zac Taylor doubted Joe Burrow would practice fully Thursday and termed his Pro Bowl quarterback day-to-day before the first full practice of the week leading into Monday night's game (8:15 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 5, ESPN) against the Rams at Paycor Stadium.
Burrow took the Kettering Health Practice Field Thursday in the uniform of the day with helmet, No. 9 jersey, and shorts with a leg-length black sleeve protecting his right calf. He threw lightly on the side before taking snaps from first-string center Ted Karras and stretching, but appeared to do little beyond that before they broke up for team drills.
Taylor cited soreness as an issue for the strained calf Burrow re-aggravated late in Sunday's game against the Ravens.
"Giving him some time is best. That's all I'll say about today," Taylor said. "Just take it day-to-day and we'll assess it each day."
As backup Jake Browning's first NFL start loomed as a possibility, Taylor said Burrow's ability to practice before the game, "would be ideal. … " I think we just have to keep the conversation going every day and see where he's at. "
Browning, 27, who won the job from veteran Trevor Siemian in the preseason, served the previous two seasons on the Bengals' practiced squad. When he came undrafted out of Washington, where he set the Pac-12 record for wins, he worked for two years on the Vikings practice squad. As a senior at Folsom High School, Browning broke his own California record for passing yards and tied the national record with 91 touchdown passes.
According to Elias, Browning would be the seventh quarterback to make his NFL debut on a Monday night. Ian Book last did it for the Saints on Dec. 21, 2021.
"When you don't have your starting quarterback that's a challenge," Taylor said. "When you've invested time and effort into Jake and Jake's matched that. The guys on our 53-man roster are here for a reason. We believe in them. We know we're going call upon everybody at some point and the quarterback position is no different."
"You need to have great conversation with all quarterbacks. Anytime a quarterback is playing you've got to make sure you connect with them and they understand the intent of the plan and why we're doing things and what they feel comfortable with. Every backup quarterback you've had, whether it's the full plan or scaled-down game plan, you want to make sure they're comfortable. Those conversations always take place. We always ask Jake the night before games on these situations: 'what plays would you want?' We're always connected that way and it's on the call sheet. This week is no different."
_Offensive coordinator Brian Callahan says Burrow's 4.22 yards per attempt, second fewest in the league, is tied to the defenses taking away the long ball rather than anything to do with the calf.
"I think it's more defenses than anything else. Baltimore has always traditionally taken away a lot of those things," Callahan said. "It's just their scheme. Obviously, the first week we had some football gripping issues and we threw a couple. It didn't look great, but we threw a couple. I think it's more scheme than anything else, just the types of teams at play that we play against. Cleveland's got good corners and in a sloppy game, it was easier for them than it could have been in a normal weather game. And Baltimore is always going to be traditionally difficult to throw the ball just one one-on-one down the field. They don't let you have too many of those. I think it's more defensive."
_Taylor thought Burrow looked himself in the second half of the Ravens game.
"That last game, aside from the interception, find me one bad ball placement. You're not going to," Taylor said. "thought he performed really well. Can't have the turnover obviously. But aside from that, I thought he gave us exactly what we needed."
_Taylor said starting safety Nick Scott (concussion) has shown positive signs. He also indicated he feels good about edge Joseph Ossai (ankle) making his first appearance of the season even if he went limited Thursday.
_The Bengals haven't lost three straight since late in the 2020 season and Taylor knows why.
"Just the character of the team. There's a lot of winners in our locker room," Taylor said. "There's a lot of winners on our coaching staff. When you face perceived adversity, I would argue that this isn't adversity, that comes later in the year, typically. There's no fear in our guys. That's what I love is when you're in a team meeting and you walk around the locker room and you see guys, you wouldn't know the record."