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Quick Hits: Logan Wilson Appreciates Taylor-Made Defense; Battle's Tackling Leads To More Snaps; Injury Update as Hubbard Returns Limited For Bengals

LB Logan Wilson runs a drill during practice at Paycor Stadium on Tuesday, November 14, 2023.
LB Logan Wilson runs a drill during practice at Paycor Stadium on Tuesday, November 14, 2023.

Bengals middle linebacker Logan Wilson not only saw what head coach Zac Taylor said, but how he said it.

At the end of Friday's news conference where he announced quarterback Joe Burrow out for the year, Taylor realized no one had asked about the criticism leveled from the Ravens and media branding Wilson a dirty player following his tackle that may have ended Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews' season with an ankle injury.

Taylor turned around, sat back down at the podium, and roundly defended Wilson.

"I really appreciated that," Wilson said after Wednesday's practice. "That just spoke volumes of the kind of guy he is and shows why guys love him so much and love playing for him. Sometimes coaches wouldn't really go out of their way because it wasn't like he was asked anything about it."

The vitriol aimed at Wilson and his loved ones was down  to the modern standards of decency and decorum.

"It's kind of the world we live in right now and some of it, obviously, was very unnecessary," Wilson said. "Coming at me and my family for no reason. I wasn't playing the game dirty. I don't wish any harm for any player I go against. I play my heart out every game. I play my butt off.

"People would notice I was one of the first people on a knee when Mark went down. You never want to see that happen to a guy. Especially him. He's a good dude."

Sanity did reign long enough for Ravens fullback Patrick Ricard to weigh in via the Ravens' website: "Everybody respects (Wilson). I don't think it was intentional or dirty. I think he's a great player. I have respect for him and think he plays the right way. I've never had a problem with him or heard that anyone had a problem with him."

INJURY UPDATE: Wide receiver Tee Higgins (hamstring) didn't practice Wednesday and could be in danger of missing his third straight game. Left end and run player supreme Sam Hubbard (ankle) went limited, cracking some hope he could return after missing the last two games foes rushed for 345 yards.

Also not working was cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt (quad) and it's been nearly a week since he got hurt in Baltimore. Nose tackle DJ Reader (illness) also didn't work. Wide  receiver Andrei Iosivas (knee) went limited after missing Thursday night.

Taylor kept it pretty vague on who looks good:" We'll see how the week goes for some of those guys. A couple of those guys that missed last week. I think it's all moving in a really good direction with them. We'll just kind of see where practice takes them this week."

NOT HIP TO IT: As for the controversy surrounding the type of tackle Wilson made, the enigmatic "hip-drop tackle," seems to be a mystery to players and coaches alike. And that includes Ravens premier linebacker Patrick Queen.

"We play football. We play a tackling sport. I don't think a hip-drop tackle is that bad of a thing," Queen told his website. "How else do you want us to tackle? Just let the guy run past you?"

Wilson pretty much said the same thing Wednesday.

"I honestly wasn't even sure what a hip-drop tackle was prior to that being brought to my attention after the game," Wilson said. "I guess it's something they're looking at (banning). It's hard in that position when you're trying to come from behind and just trying to find a way to bring him down.

"It's not like Mark Andrews is a small human. You're just trying to find a way to bring the guy down and I never wish that to happen to anyone. Whatever they decide to do with the hip-drop tackle going forward, we'll have to adjust. But it would make it a lot harder if that's what they decide to do."

And, after saying "there's not a better guy out there," than Wilson, Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo on Wednesday also wondered about it all.

"I just think that during the natural course of trying to tackle a guy, sometimes the defenders slide down and they're not necessarily trying to," Anarumo said before practice. "It's just something that happens during the tackle. I know the league is looking at it and talking about it. We have a wrap-and-roll tackle. We have same-foot-same-shoulder tackle. We don't have anything called hip-drop tackle, and we've never said that, never talked about it. I don't know that anybody in my years of coaching has ever said those words. I just think it's something that happens during a tackle."

BATTLE CONTINUES: Speaking of tackling, that's why rookie safety Jordan Battle is going to continue to play a major role in the defense and maybe join quarterback Jake Browing making his first NFL start Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Local 12) at Paycor Stadium against the Steelers

Anarumo keeps looking at those 11 tackles from Thursday night in his season-high 55 snaps, tying Battle with Queen for the most tackles in the game.

"Tackling first and foremost, 11 tackles showed up. Gus Edwards is a sturdy running back, good running back, and he was able to get him to the ground in one-on-one situations," Anarumo said of the Ravens back. "So let's just start with that. Let's start with getting a guy on the ground. Tackling A-one-A.

"I think Jordan will get some more (snaps). He's earned some more, obviously based on 11 tackles. Let's start with that.

"Nick (Scott) will still have a role. Jordan will take a little bit bigger role … I just felt like he kind of got the hot hand and let's go with it."

Pro Football Focus had the Bengals for 10 missed tackles Thursday, but Pro Football Reference has them for the sixth fewest total in the NFL with 45 through ten games.

SLANTS AND SCREENS: Anarumo absolved Scott of blame for the early 12th man-on-the-field penalty in Thursday's game and took responsibility for not getting the proper safety rotation on the field in time …

Meet Jakey Spin Rate. Browning revealed that was an early nickname for him here when he arrived the week before the 2021 season ripping spirals.

"That was a Brandon Allen nickname I think," Browning said of the former Bengals quarterback. "So that kind of died when he left." …

Like the man himself said, Burrow was at Wednesday's walkthrough and practice. He was also on the injury report (rt. wrist) because he has yet to be put on injured reserve.

"He's been around everything he's supposed to be around," Taylor said. "It's good to have him out there. I think he lifts everybody up and provides value even when he's not playing." ….

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