WEMBLEY, ENGLAND - Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd is coming off back-to-back games that saw him go from the Bengals MVP to shaking his head over five drops. Throw in last Sunday's game-changing fumble on the first series of the second half and he's vowing to turn it around in Sunday's game at Wembley Stadium (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Local 12) knowing he'll be chased by new Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
"That's not me," Boyd said after Friday's practice at Allianz Park. "That's not going to happen again."
He hasn't curled up. In his Friday UK presser, head coach Zac Taylor pointed to Boyd and running back Joe Mixon as guys that have led the way this week with their vocal approach. Both are coming off extremely tough games against the Jags, but Boyd had a gleam in his eye after a morning practice just six hours after they landed in The Kingdom.
"Joe and I are always barking at each other, trying to bring energy," Boyd said. "Just get everybody going. Keep the train going. We're 0-7 at this point but we're not out there playing for no reason. It's a business. You have to put your best stuff on tape (because) you could be done within a game. I love football, I love to play."
After having his worst game in nearly two years two weeks ago in Baltimore (three catches for ten yards), he admitted frustration got the best of him last week against the Jaguars when he tried to jump-start a lifeless offense with a big yards-after-catch play in which he did everything but protect the ball and fumbled at midfield.
View practice photos from Allianz Park as the Bengals are in London to face the Los Angeles Rams in Week 8.
"The games where I'm quiet, they're keying on me, rolling coverage to me, nobody likes those numbers and stats," Boyd said. "Trying to do too much … I have to do my job even if they double me and roll to me. Just run my routes to get everybody else open."
And, Boyd says, don't fight the frustration. Catch the ball. He came into Baltimore with the most targets in the league with the fewest drops. Always his own harshest grader, Boyd says he now has four to five drops. Profootballfocus.com says five in the last two weeks.
"It was that way all year," Boyd said of the attention defenses have given him. "I just have to stay consistent, keep making plays I can make."
But Boyd has run two stop-and-go routes in each of the last two games that could have been touchdowns if quarterback Andy Dalton had thrown them just a tad deeper. Boyd knows he has to be careful on that route Sunday with Ramsey lurking.
"The big thing about him is he's got great size (6-1). And he's very patient," Boyd said. "He doesn't really bite on the first move, so I have to make sure I keep running, get him to open his hips and things like that. He'll have to come into the slot a little bit. That's where my creativity comes in. I just have to win."
Like Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey two weeks ago, Boyd expects Ramsey to follow him or play in a zone that rolls coverage to him. He's expecting two other things. Ramsey, the only man to get under A.J. Green's skin to get him ejected in a 2017 game, is going to yap and the Rams are going to play man in the red zone. Ramsey is quality and Boyd badly wants to show he's in that conversation, too.
"I'm a talker, too. I talk a lot stuff, too," Boyd said. "I'm not going to feel badly if he's saying stuff to me or maybe makes a play, I'm going to come right back at him.
"He will watch me for sure," Boyd said. "If I can dominate a dominant guy, we'll have a great battle."
CARLOS READY: After missing the last two games, Carlos Dunlap (knee) looks like he'll be back at left end after going full for the second straight day and not listed as questionable or doubtful.
NO GLENN: After left tackle Cordy Glenn, still listed with a concussion, didn't feel well during Thursday's practice, Taylor decided to keep him home in Cincinnati. And, as expected, wide receiver A.J. Green (ankle), cornerbacks Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) and Darqueze Dennard (hamstring) and left end Carl Lawson (hamstring) were ruled out for Sunday. Green went limited for the third straight day and Taylor said he keeps progressing and with the bye next, he sounded hopeful Green would be full go soon.
Two starting offensive linemen, left tackle Andre Smith (ankle) and right guard John Miller (groin) were questionable after being limited all week.
C.J. SMILING: This one means a lot to tight end C.J. Uzomah. He was inactive when the Bengals were at Wembley in 2016 and now that he's playing he can't stop smiling. In a locker room full of Premier League soccer nuts, Uzomah may be the nuttiest. He's a huge fan of Chelsea and can't stand that Dalton's team is Manchester City. Or Man City, as they say.
When Dalton came clean to the ever inquisitive English press (even admitting his favorite player is red-headish Kevin De Bruyne), he got a few good-natured boos.
"I would have booed him, too, if I was here," Uzomah said. "Nobody likes Man City."
But Uzomah loves Wembley. He remembers how Chelsea won the first FA Cup there.
"A lot of history. It's awesome to be playing on the pitch," Uzomah said. "I'll have the biggest smile on my face. I always play butt off, but this is super special to be in this stadium. To be playing in front of European fans that love football. There are all colors. All 32 teams. I think it's awesome the culture we're bringing over here."