Slot receiver Tyler Boyd, who left last Sunday's game after the second snap when he saw the bone break the skin of his middle finger when the ball bounced off it, is trying to get back and play this Sunday (4:25 p.m.-Cincinnati's Local 12) in Tampa.
Like wide receiver Tee Higgins (hamstring), who didn't come back after the first snap, he's been limited the last two days.
But one thing he was sure about after Thursday's practice. With the Bengals on their longest streak of Boyd's seven seasons (five), he says the Bengals are trying to end the season with nine straight in order to get the top AFC seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
"We're not really worried about the streak at this point. We're just more concerned with how we can move on and out-scheme and out-coach the other opponents that we've got to follow up with next week," Boyd said. "Like I said, every game from here on out is a must win. We've got to win it because all these teams are playoff teams and we're trying to figure out a place in the playoffs, trying to get placed in the right spot where we can get home-field advantage. That's what we want to do. To do that, we've got to win out. So, it's not much about the streak at this point. It's just getting these wins so we're placed in the best place we can be once the playoffs start."
DAX BUZZ: Bengals rookie safety Dax Hill, born Sept. 29, 2000, two days before rookie quarterback Tom Brady was inactive and quarterback Michael Bishop was not for the Patriots in their win in Denver, is comforted by the Mike Thomas story.
Thomas, the Bengals special teams captain and the team's oldest player as a 32-year-old geezer, told the guys his story during Tuesday's off-day secondary meeting.
How he had been a year in the league when the Dolphins skimmed him off the 49ers practice squad and he was pressed into service in 48 hours into the slot, a position he hadn't played since college, and how in his first NFL game he saved the game by intercepting Brady in the end zone with two seconds left.
"That gave me some inspiration," Hill said.
So Thomas, technically, wasn't a rookie. But he was. And then there's the fact that two slot cornerbacks, Mike Hilton (ankle) and Jalen Davis (thumb) didn't practice for the second straight day Thursday and the media buzzed around his locker wondered if the old Michigan nickel would wake up the echoes against his fellow Wolverine Brady in the slot.
Thomas did give him some Brady tips no matter where Hill lines up Sunday:
"He's going to test you early. In simple coverage he's going to make sure you're doing it right, Hill said. "If not, he's just going to attack you in different ways. Really, whatever he tries to test you at, just make sure you do it the right way so he won't keep going at you."
Hill (hamstring) and edge Joseph Ossai (shoulder) went full Thursday after going limited Wednesday. Edge Trey Hendrickson (wrist) didn't work again.