Bengals head coach Zac Taylor says quarterback Joe Burrow should be OK to play in Detroit Sunday and when he does he may very well be behind a new right guard in rookie D'Ante Smith's first NFL start.
Rookie right guard Jackson Carman has been placed on the COVID-19 list, along with backup running back Samaje Perine coming off his season-high 59 yards and 11 carries. Smith, a fourth-rounder out of East Carolina, was an early star in training camp at left guard and is the next option with Carman momentarily shelved after his first three NFL starts. Veteran Opening Day right guard Xavier Su'a-Filo was placed on injured reserve last week with a knee injury.
Taylor said in his Monday afternoon media Zoom that Burrow didn't stay overnight in the hospital after he was checked for a bruised throat and neither he or Burrow know when the injury occurred Sunday against the Packers. He's still talking in a whisper, but Taylor said all sounds well.
"I think he was just having a little difficulty talking. But as the night went on, he was better," Taylor said. "As he woke up this morning, he came right in the facility and was ready to go. I've tried to pinpoint when it happened. There's a couple of times when you could say maybe he got hit in the neck. There was two or three plays. He doesn't have a recollection on which one it happened on."
Taylor continues to say Burrow's pocket awareness is as good as he's ever been around. But he also continues to talk to him about protecting himself on scrambles, which didn't happen late in the first half Sunday when he tried to stretch out a third-down scramble and got levelled.
"Part of the lesson he's learning, when to scramble to get first downs, when to slide and when to get out of bounds, when to get rid of the ball," Taylor said. "That's probably one (discussion) of me telling him, 'Hey, let's protect ourselves,' on that big shot he took before the half. And he agrees with that. He's got an aggressive mentality, he wants to help the team get first downs but at the same time, that's part of protecting our football team is we need him out there playing and not exposing himself to some unnecessary hits."
His wide receivers are looking for him to do the same thing. After the game Sunday, Ja'Marr Chase called him "hard-headed," and says he's been trying to get him to slide more. He said it admiringly. On Monday, Tyler Boyd also admitted he gets concerned, but ….
"We don't want him banged up at all. We hate to see it. He's a dog. I see it. We all know," Boyd said. "It's a gray area. At the time its third-and-two or third- and-one and he's got to run with his legs to get it, we need it. So it's kind of a back-and-forth."