One of the last times we saw Bengals home-grown edge Sam Hubbard, he chased them into the Super Bowl when he chased down Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes backward in the dying moments of regulation. Meanwhile, his tag-team partner on the other side, Trey Hendrickson, finished off his career year with 3.5 sacks in the playoffs.
They haven't missed a beat. They wrecked Thursday's training camp practice with about six sacks between them, but Hubbard had a warning.
"Offense always takes a little bit longer to click than defense in every camp I've been in," Hubbard said before Friday's practice. "I know the coaches are going to get on them pretty good and they're going to come out with a vengeance. It's going to be a battle. We're not resting on our laurels."
Defensive line coach Marion Hobby believes foes better not rest on Hubbard's ability to pass rush because his presence against the run is well known as Pro Football Focus' 2021 tackling leader against the run among NFL edgers. He hears the word "underrated," rusher and he shrugs.
"I take great pride in the run game. A lot of guys just want to rush the passer," Hubbard said. "I think it's vital to any defense to stop the run to earn the right to rush the passer. I love playing football. I love playing the run. I don't care. I know what my coaches and teammates think. That's all I need to know."
With 22 sacks, Hubbard is one of 14 ends with at least that many since he's been in the league since 2018. But, like Hendrickson, he has no numeric goal.
"We've got a premier rusher in Trey on the other side of me," Hubbard said. "I know he gets a lot of attention and rightfully so. I'll take all the one-on-ones I can get. I'm just focused on improving my technique and becoming just a better overall player."
_Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said they "probably dodged a bullet," after tight end Drew Sample got carted off the field Thursday with what looked to be a knee injury. He was seen with one crutch and a knee brace, but Taylor said he'd be out only a couple of weeks.
_No timeline yet on Joe Burrow and he says he's pleased with how engaged he is in the building and on the practice field.
"I think he's been locked in and focused," Taylor said. "He's in the meetings and helping lead like he was today. He's been plenty engaged and I don't think we need to stimulate him. He does a great job there."
_Taylor said right tackle La'el Collins (back) is making "good progress."
_NFL officials were expected again at practice Friday and Taylor said he's getting an idea on what penalties they are emphasizing in the preseason.
"Re-focusing again on the taunting stuff, what constitutes taunting and what they called last year and what they didn't. I think they've done a great job," Taylor said. "The focus has been on these pulls as well. Got the guardian caps on to help prevent some of the concussion stuff but at the same time they are trying to eliminate guys at positions they haven't flagged in the past leading with the helmet, as well.
"Those have been conversations that have been ongoing for a number of months there. There is some kickoff return looks they covered yesterday. It's good to get them out there with some flags out there because coaches have been officiating the first couple weeks and now they got real officials to go out there and do it. "