Bengals head coach Zac Taylor hopes to roll out what he projects as his Opening Day offensive line for next Sunday's preseason finale (4 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) against the Dolphins at Paul Brown Stadium.
"I think that would be ideal. After the game, going into that final week before the game to have a general idea," Taylor said before Sunday's practice. "There won't be a lot of information that we'll gain next week from practices in terms of that competition. So, again, it's not set in stone that when this game ends, we'll name the starters. But I think we'll probably have a pretty good idea of what direction we're headed for Week 1."
It sounds like his guards may be the veteran tandem of Quinton Spain on the left and Xavier Su'a-Filo on the right.
"We saw good things from those two guys," said Taylor of the pair that started Saturday night in Washington. "They're veterans and they're here for a reason, because they're consistent and they know what we're looking for. I was happy with most of their play from the game. We'll just continue to evaluate for this week though."
Taylor also said second-rounder Jackson Carman, backing up Su'a-Filo, looked better Saturday but needs to get more consistent.
When you talk about Jackson, just kind of talking about the rookies as a whole, there is some progress being made in terms of the fundamentals and technique that you want," Taylor said. "But it's just got to be more consistent. And again, it's good. He's moving in the right direction. We're just looking overall as a whole rookie class, just more consistency from the whole group. And he certainly fits right in there with that group."
- No decision yet on if Joe Burrow is going to play Sunday or how much the starters are going to play. Expect that to come Wednesday. Taylor is treating it like a regular-season week and that is usually the first work day of the week.
- No worries on rookie wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase's three straight drops on the first three downs of the game Saturday night.
"He's making improvements, whether they're seen or not, in a lot of different areas of his game," Taylor said. "You know, sometimes you don't want that to happen, because we wanted to win the game, we wanted him to convert those third downs. But it's good for a guy to say, 'Hey, this is tough. This is real NFL, this is going against a real defense and I've got to make these plays.' And again, he's shown well in a lot of the practices. Expectations are high for him."
Taylor isn't sure if the drops are the result of not playing since January of 2020 in the national title game.
"That's hard to say. It's possible." Taylor said. "We just continue to make progress and strides on offense, and he's part of that mix to make all those guys better over the course of this week."
And, no, there's clearly no lack of confidence in Taylor's mind.
"Guys are building him up. Just talking to (Tyler Boyd) and all these guys, these guys all struggled with coming in as a rookie. The expectations are so high that you expect him to be a star right out the gate," Taylor said. "But it takes work. You've got put in the work. That consistency comes over time and by no means are we down on Ja'Marr. He's just going through some of the things rookies go through in training camp and we expect him to improve over the course of this week. "