Probably no one knows Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow's game better than his college teammate and rookie receiver Ja'Marr Chase.
Before Wednesday's practice, Chase gave his take on how Burrow has improved the last couple of days.
"I can see his confidence is growing bigger, you know, just by him taking off out of the pocket," Chase said. "I've definitely seen that. So that's exciting to see from Joe Burrow. His passes, him talking to me again, talking to the whole offense, opening up a little more now, I feel like he's more confident in himself now, not saying he wasn't confident, but much more confident than he had been, just coming off the injury and you know, just being himself and feeling comfortable."
YOUNG AT HEART: Left guard Quinton Spain, who along with Trey Hopkins and Xavier Su'a-Filo is a sage of the young Bengals offensive line, went into free agency back in March knowing why he was coming back. No matter the money. It had a lot to do with that youth.
"It wasn't no if, ands or buts about it. I knew it was the best situation for me," Spain said before Wednesday's practice. "So once the season was over, I talked to the coach. I told them I want to come back. And then I told my agent I'm going to come back. I don't care what they offer me or whatever. I'm coming back because I have a better chance here … They're young, they need older guys in the room to help the younger guys they have, teach them the way. And I felt like as me, being a good veteran, I should be able to do that."
SLANTS AND SCREENS: Proud Tampa product Auden Tate returns to play Saturday (7:30-p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) after missing the last two Florida trips because of injuries. That's where he stayed this offseason.
"Just adding more finesse to my game, more quickness, staying low, in and out my breaks," Tate said. "Being more fast in workouts with a lot my old teammates and a lot of my high school teammates, had a lot of people pushing me. I think that had me getting a lot better."
The Bengals were scheduled in pads for the final time before Saturday's preseason opener. They'll be in helmets Thursday before traveling Friday after a walkthrough.