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Quick Hits: QB Allen To Play Bulk Of Saturday's First Half; Zac Yet To Make Preseason Call on Burrow; Bates Cancels The Noise

Brandon Allen gets the start in Tampa on Saturday.
Brandon Allen gets the start in Tampa on Saturday.

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor has sketched out his playing time for Saturday's preseason opener in Tampa (7:30 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) and it sounds like backup quarterback Brandon Allen is going to play most of the first half while the first offensive line may not go as long with a good drive or two.

Joining quarterback Joe Burrow on the bench is center Trey Hopkins (knee) and defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (hamstring). Third tackle Fred Johnson (quad) could play, but he only returned to practice Wednesday and they're keeping him out. They also may ice some defensive backs.

Taylor said he has yet to decide if Burrow is going to play yet this preseason.

He did say before Thursday's practice that the top two running backs, Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine, are going to be limited. He plans to use the kickers, fifth-rounder Evan McPherson and vet Austin Seibert, equally.

"You want to put together a good drive with the ones. If you can do that then get some other guys some work. Brandon will play a little bit longer than maybe some other guys that come out first just to get him some more game action," Taylor said. "Defense will not be on the field very long. A handful or snaps, or maybe two handfuls of snaps maybe I should say, then we have a lot of veteran guys on both sides of the ball that don't need to show us what they are capable of in preseason games."

- When it comes to rookie right guard Jackson Carman getting into top physical condition, Taylor indicated he needs to lose only a few pounds and he has time to play his way into the Opening Day lineup.

"I think with all the rookies there are ups and downs," Taylor said. "All these guys, it's very different for them. Especially in the trenches. He's played great competition in the past but it's a whole new offense. It's a whole new level of competition once you get to this league.

"We brought him here for reason and we've seen those reasons show up. It can be difficult for young linemen. It's a long training camp. We are not even really a third of the way through. There is a long ways to go and that is what we preach to these guys. Hey, it hasn't been perfect for a lot of you but there is plenty of time to get this thing ready. You have no evidence on tape of what you look like as an NFL player across the league right now. That starts on Saturday."

- Safety Jessie Bates III is no longer talking about state of his contract extension after addressing it before Thursday's practice in's training camp report with Dan Hoard and Dave Lapham.

"I guess I haven't done enough yet to be considered one of the top safeties in this league, which is fine," said Bates, ranked the No. 1 safety by Pro Football Focus after last season. "That's fine with me. I'm going to go to work just like any other day, my first three years being here."

Take a deep breath, kids. We've been here before. The biggest deals in Bengals history have come as the regular season dawned and not now.

Go back to 2006 and Willie Anderson's third contract that was signed just before he got on the bus for the preseason finale in Indianapolis. Or just go back to last year when running back Joe Mixon inked his $50 million deal on Sept. 1.

That was Labor Day weekend, a pretty good marker. Future Hall-of-Famer Geno Atkins got locked up on Sept. 2, 2013. It can be a little later, too. Franchise icon A.J. Green inked his $115 million deal just before the Bengals got on the plane for the 2015 opener in Oakland on Sept. 11. And linebacker Vontaze Burfict got his second extension on Sept. 7, 2017.

Then there was the lightning strike of Atkins and Carlos Dunlap both signing extensions on Aug. 28, 2018.

Bottom line: In the last decade there's only been one of their own young players that they wanted to sign and didn't and that was cornerback Johnathan Joseph in a deal complicated by the 2011 lockout.

By the way, Bates is saying all the right things.

"Just being able to have that open conversation with my agent has been great in regards to just having the conversation, very open," Bates said. "I've been out there practicing every day. I have a goal that I want to reach, personally, and I know I have to get better to help this team get to where we need to be. I'll let my agent work out the numbers and stuff like that. I'm going to be the best teammate, the best leader that I can be for the 2021 Bengals. We'll see. We'll see what happens."