Bengals head coach Zac Taylor won't play most of his starters in Friday's (7:30 p.m.-Cincinnati's Local 12) preseason opener at Paycor Stadium against Arizona, but look for first-round pick Dax Hill to start at free safety in his NFL debut and first-team left guard Jackson Carman to get the nod.
"Jackson played a lot for us last year but I think it's good for him to continue to get that work, and I know he'll attack it the right way," Taylor said before Wednesday's practice. "It'll be good to see him perform on Friday."
Taylor said he tentatively has Brandon Allen playing the first half at quarterback to be followed by Jake Browning in the second half.
Not playing are tackle D'Ante Smith (back) and edge Khalid Kareem, just activated off the physically unable to perform list following offseason shoulder surgery. Edge Joseph Ossai, who missed all of his rookie season last year after injuries to his wrist and knee in the preseason opener, is expected to play but not as much as the other backups.
_Taylor is still listing quarterback Joe Burrow (appendicitis) day-to-day. He says when he does return, practice is going to be focused on getting him ready.
"Not mentally," said Taylor, when asked if Burrow is going to be behind. "Obviously the physical reps, it's been two or three weeks, he's certainly, we're going to try to get those reps for him. There will be a portion. We've really gone through all the situational stuff we wanted to get through. When he does get back in the mix, practices will be focused on getting our quarterback ready. Making sure, you can give him a lot of credit, he's a smart guy. We want to make sure we haven't skipped any steps in terms of areas on the field we want to work on. There'll be a lot of consideration when he does get back in the mix about how we structure practice to make sure he's getting a lot of good work in."
_Right tackle La'el Collins (back) was cleared to practice Wednesday and he'll start out doing walk-throughs and individual position drills.
"I think we're right on schedule with it," said Collins before practice. "You've just got to keep focusing on the small things every day and just keep coming to work every day and put my best foot forward."
_Both punters are going to work against the Cardinals. Special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons said challenger Drue Chrisman is showing his leg strength and ability to get the ball down the field. He's shown more power than incumbent Kevin Huber, but Chrisman knows there's a long way to go.
"I've popped some pretty good ones, but I need to be more consistent with my hang time," Chrisman said.
_Friday is the debut of the newly named Paycor Stadium.
"Love it," Taylor said. "Perfect marriage. It's going to help us be competitive for a long time."
The Bengals have partnered with Paycor since 2018. The last man to bring Paul Brown Stadium to its feet with the pick to end the Wild Card win over Vegas, knew where his checks had been coming.
"They're the ones who pay us," said linebacker Germaine Pratt. "That's pretty cool."