Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins was listed as limited Thursday in his first practice back since he injured his hamstring in practice a month ago, but he cautiously says he feels like he's 100% and that the plan is to play Monday night (8:15-Cincinnati's Channel 9 and ESPN) in Jacksonville.
Also limited but encouraging is No. 1 cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt after a quad injury kept him out of last Sunday's game.
"I feel like I'm there, but I definitely don't want to push myself too soon where I go out there and have a setback," Higgins said after practice. "I feel like I'm 100 percent, but I'm still easing my way in. I'm just trying to get back into a rhythm of things."
Higgins said he injured the hamstring running a deep ball in the Wednesday practice before the Nov. 12 Houston game. At that point the Bengals had won four straight in a stretch quarterback Joe Burrow had the NFL's second-best passer rating.
Now they've lost three straight and Jake Browning is at quarterback with Burrow (throwing wrist) out for the year.
"Jake is playing with confidence. You can see the confidence he's been building since he came in for Joe in the Ravens game" said Higgins, eying his first catch with Browning. "He's not far off Joe the way he's taking charge of the offense. I'm looking forward to catching balls from him."
The feeling is mutual.
"Tee's one of the top receivers in the NFL. I don't think you can really put it into words how important he is to this offense," Browning said Thursday after practice during his weekly news conference. "I think we have a really good receiver room and I don't want to take away from (them). I think Andrei's (Iosivas) continued to play really well. Trenton Irwin has proven he can do it. But there's something that Tee brings to the table, being as big, as fast, and having the experience he does. It's always nice to have him and Ja'Marr (Chase) on the outside."
BROWNING GETTING SETTLED: After his first NFL start at Paycor Stadium last week, Browning said he feels more in sync this week as he preps for his first road start.
"I think it's an opportunity to go into a game where I've already been through a week as the starter, just even like a Wednesday practice felt so much smoother today versus last week. (Last week was) what is this all going to look like?" Browning said. "Now, I have a full week of that and I think I also just keep going back to the fact that ... whatever week this is (13), this is like week 2 for me, week 3, so that you know early on in the season everybody is getting a lot better and then they kind of hit a certain point where they kind of plateau. I'm not at my plateau and so for me those practice reps are really important. Every rep in the game, getting a takeaway from it is really important. As I keep stacking these starts and stacking these reps, I continue to improve."
SLANTS AND SCREENS: True to his word, Burrow showed up after having surgery on the torn ligament in his throwing wrist Monday and went out to practice with his arm in a sling and a cast on his hand. He offered a friendly, "Hello reporter people," as a gaggle of scribes made their way off the practice field. Always has time to bond with his guys. Burrow went looking for the card table in the practice squad annex of the locker room and dragged it out with his left hand so he could get a game going. That's all you need to know about what he means around here
Center Ted Karras also thought the Thursday-Wednesday practice went off rather well. On Monday night weeks, everything gets moved back a day.
"We're bringing the energy and we've got a big prime-time game against a team fighting for the No. 1 seed in this conference. It would be nice to go knock them off on Monday Night Football," Karras said. "I'm just a little angry. That's how I like to play sometimes. I think just in general we executed better just all 11 guys. A smoother, better practice. Guys came to work. Proud of the way this team is handling themselves. We're going to find out a lot about ourselves the next six weeks."
Browning showed up on the injury report with, of all things, a right wrist issue. But he went full Thursday.
So did middle linebacker Logan Wilson (ankle/foot) after he left late in Sunday's game.
Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (illness) didn't work and neither did fight end Trey Hendrickson with a rest day.