Bengals Rumors

Bengals Place TE Tyler Kroft On IR

Tyler Kroft will not be making a return from injury this season. The Bengals kept the tight end on their active roster in hopes he would be able to come back from his foot injury, but that won’t happen now.

The team placed Kroft on IR Friday, Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com tweets. Cincinnati will promote linebacker Brandon Bell off its practice squad to fill the roster spot.

The Bengals have been operating shorthanded at tight end for most of the season. Tyler Eifert has been on IR for weeks, while Kroft has been on the mend with a broken bone in his left foot. C.J. Uzomah‘s filled in as the starter, and that arrangement will continue.

While Kroft is expected to be healthy in time for free agency, this was not a good contract year. Kroft attempted to avoid surgery in order to play for a Bengals team contending for a playoff spot, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter), but he’ll now be out. It appears likely a procedure will occur soon.

In 2017, Kroft stepped in for an injured Eifert and caught 42 passes for 404 yards and seven touchdowns — all far and away career-high marks. Other than his ’17 contributions, Kroft has not contributed much statistically since joining the Bengals as a 2015 third-round pick.

Both Kroft and Eifert are free agents in 2019. While another Eifert injury clouds his future with the team, Kroft sought an extension this summer. That did not end up coming to pass. Kroft caught just four passes this season.

A 2015 fifth-rounder, Uzomah is also a free agent at the year’s conclusion. So, the Bengals will have decisions to make at this position and won’t have much in the way of 2018 work samples on which to do so. Although, these next several games will be key for Uzomah in this regard.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jackson Won’t Have Role In Bengals’ Offense

The Bengals hired Hue Jackson this week to serve as a “special assistant” under head coach Marvin Lewis. It was presumed that Jackson would be involved in the team’s offense, given his previous role as the team’s OC, but Lewis says that will not be the case (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Katherine Terrell). 

[RELATED: Bengals’ Harris Designated For Return]

This likely means that Jackson will be covering some of Lewis’ day-to-day responsibilities as head coach. In turn, that will allow Lewis to focus more on the defense, where he is effectively serving as the team’s DC after the firing of Teryl Austin. Meanwhile, Bill Lazor will continue in his command of the offense.

Jackson’s first game back on the Bengals’ sideline will come on Sunday against the Ravens. After that, Jackson has the first of two potential revenge matchups against the Browns on Nov. 25.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals’ Harris Designated For Return

Bengals cornerback Davontae Harris returned to practice on Wednesday, paving the way for him to return from IR. The move starts a three-week window for him to practice with the team. For now, he does not count against the 53-man roster, but he must be activated in the next 21 days in order for him to play this season. 

[RELATED: Bengals Hire Hue Jackson]

Harris, a fifth-round rookie, suffered a knee injury against the Cowboys in the preseason and has been sidelined for the last few months. The Illinois State product made some noise at the combine with a 4.43-second 40-yard-dash and a 4.4-second 20-yard shuttle, so the Bengals are curious to see what he can do.

The Bengals are starting Dre Kirkpatrick and William Jackson at the outside corner spots with Darqueze Dennard in the slot and Tony McRae, Darius Phillips, and KeiVarae Russell in support. One of those reserve corners may have to go if Harris is activated this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Hire Hue Jackson

The Bengals formally hired former Browns head coach Hue Jackson as a “special assistant” under head coach Marvin Lewis. The move brings Jackson back to to Lewis in Cincinnati for the third time in his career. 

I have a great comfort level with Hue and his ability to assist me with the day-to-day responsibilities on defense, including analyzing our opponents and helping me on game days with the players and defensive coaches,” Lewis said in a statement.

Jackson’s day-to-day responsibilities remain unclear, but it stands to reason that he’ll work with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. He may also take some responsibilities off of Lewis’ plate, allowing him to focus on the defense. The Bengals fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin earlier this week, leaving Lewis to manage the unit.

I’m pleased to have the opportunity to join the Bengals this season,” Jackson said in the press release. “There is a lot of talent on this team, and I look forward to doing my part to help it finish the season strong.”

Jackson will also have a chance to exact revenge on his former team. The Bengals face the Browns in both Week 12 and in Week 16.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Hue Jackson To Join Bengals’ Staff

The firing of defensive coordinator Teryl Austin wasn’t the only coaching staff change for the Bengals today. “Hue Jackson is slated to be in Cincinnati imminently to join the staff of Bengals coach Marvin Lewis”, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

While Rapoport notes the “title is not yet clear”, it will definitely be in some sort of offensive capacity, so it’s not related to Austin’s firing. Jackson was the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati for the 2014 and 2015 seasons, and was the running backs coach the year before that. He also had a stint as the team’s receivers coach from 2004-2006.

Lewis has always been very fond of Jackson, as has Bengals ownership, so this reunion makes plenty of sense. Jackson’s tenure as head coach of the Browns was disastrous, but before that he was always a highly respected offensive mind.

Jackson helped craft some of the best play of Andy Dalton’s career during his time as coordinator, so he should have an immediate role in the game-planning. Jackson’s reign in Cleveland went so poorly that it led most to forget he was a very highly regarded coach before that. It’s definitely not a bad move for Cincinnati.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Fire DC Teryl Austin

The Bengals fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, as Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets. For now, head coach Marvin Lewis will assume the Bengals’ defensive coordinator responsibilities, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

On Sunday, the Bengals suffered a 51-14 loss at the hands of the Saints. Even without wide receiver Cameron Meredith, the Saints went off for 509 offensive yards and 44 unanswered points after the game was knotted up at 7-7. This was the third straight game in which the Bengals allowed over 500 yards and Austin has been blamed for the defense’s shortcomings.

For the last two years, Austin has been in the mix for head coaching jobs around the league. This year, he pushed for the Lions to promote him from defensive coordinator to head coach after Jim Caldwell was fired, but the team was dead set on hiring Matt Patricia. When that became apparent to Austin, he hooked on with the Bengals to serve under Lewis.

Now, Austin’s time in Cincinnati is up after just one year. And, fair or not, Austin is now even further away from getting his big break as a head coach.

The Bengals are now 5-4, meaning that their playoff hopes are alive, though they have some ground to make up if they hope to beat out the 6-2-1 Steelers for the AFC North crown.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kirkpatrick Has Concussion

  • The Bengals were demolished by the Saints at home today, and their already injury depleted defense got even more bad news. Starting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick was ruled out for the game with a concussion and is currently in the concussion protocol, according to Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Bengals are already down multiple starters on defense, so they can’t afford to be without Kirkpatrick.

Latest On A.J. Green

  • One name who could be part of the Ravens‘ above-referenced overhaul, of course, is quarterback Joe Flacco. Flacco is battling a hip injury and has been spotted on crutches, though Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network describes the injury as more of a day-to-day malady than a week-to-week one (video link). So if Flacco can practice when the Ravens return to the field in a couple of days — they are on a bye this week — he will likely play. But Rapoport says Baltimore is “relishing” the uncertainty that the situation is creating for the team’s next opponent, the Bengals, and he expects first-round pick Lamar Jackson to get increased snaps whether Flacco plays or not.
  • Rapoport tweets that Bengals WR A.J. Green is “likely” to miss next week’s game against the Ravens, though there is a chance he will be able to suit up. That is a rosier outlook than the one presented by Schefter, who said earlier this week that Green will definitely miss the Ravens game and could miss multiple games after that. Schefter doubled down on that report today, saying that a December return is looking increasingly likely (Twitter link). Rapoport says 2018 seventh-rounder Auden Tate, who was waived last month but who was signed to the practice squad just one day later, has impressed and will see plenty of snaps in Green’s absence. Tate was promoted from the practice squad on Monday.

NFL Workout Updates: 11/5/18

Here’s the latest from the workout circuit. All links go to Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan Twitter account, unless otherwise noted.

Cleveland Browns

Cincinnati Bengals

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Oakland Raiders

Philadelphia Eagles

A.J. Green Won’t Need Foot Surgery

Coming out of their bye, the 5-3 Bengals appear in “If the season ended today” playoff graphics. But their top weapon’s status is a concern heading into Week 10.

A.J. Green‘s toe injury prompted a visit with foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson, but Marvin Lewis said Monday (via the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Paul Dehner Jr.) the eighth-year wide receiver wouldn’t need surgery. However, he’s not out of the woods yet.

Lewis expects Green to return this season, but ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter tweets he’s not expected to be back for a bit. Green will miss the next two Bengals games so doctors can re-evaluate his foot, Schefter adds. And this would be before determining when Green can suit up again. It might be a longer absence. While it’s good news Green won’t need surgery, the Bengals’ offense figures to absorb a significant blow in a playoff race.

Green suffered the injury on the final offensive play of the Week 8 Bengals-Buccaneers game. Lewis didn’t rule out a Green return this week but was not specific when asked about a timetable. The Bengals’ next two games are a home tilt against the surging Saints and a road Ravens matchup. Green, who missed time due to injuries in 2014 and ’16, not being available for those could be critical.

The cornerstone wideout and seven-time Pro Bowler has 45 receptions for 687 yards and six touchdowns this season. The Bengals appear to have found a consistent Green complementary piece in Tyler Boyd (49/620/5), too, but their passing game will certainly be affected without Green. Cincinnati’s already missing tight ends Tyler Eifert and Tyler Kroft.