Takkarist McKinley will not make his Bengals debut this week, needing to go through the NFL’s COVID-19 protocol. But the team will have a key pass rusher in uniform after some time away.
The Bengals activated Sam Hubbard from IR Saturday. The third-year defensive end has missed the past three games because of an elbow injury.
Cincinnati also moved John Ross to its IR list. While Ross has not been active since Week 6 and has not caught a pass since Week 1, he has run into multiple injury issues during another disappointing season. After a foot injury shelved him recently, more foot trouble emerged in practice this week, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.
This setback came shortly after Bengals coaches had a conversation with Ross about working as a cornerback, Garafolo notes, but the injury came on a play in which Ross was playing his usual position. None of this is good for a player who joined the Bengals as a top-10 pick.
The team did not pick up Ross’ option and has not featured him prominently this season, using younger players Tee Higgins and Auden Tate over Ross. While Ross requested a trade, the Bengals did not move him. Ross’ contract expires at season’s end. The Combine’s 40-yard dash record holder is not on track to enter free agency with much momentum.
Hubbard will return to a defensive line that no longer houses Carlos Dunlap, whom the Bengals traded during Hubbard’s injury hiatus. Hubbard will rejoin Carl Lawson in Cincy’s lineup, while McKinley — added on waivers this week — is set to join the incumbents next week.
November 29th, 2019 at 12:17pm CST by Sam Robinson
The Bengals will be without another of their offensive line starters for the season’s remainder. Alex Redmond will go on IR because of the torn biceps injury he suffered last week, Ben Baby of ESPN.com tweets.
Redmond’s move off the 53-man roster will make room for cornerback Darius Phillips, whom the Bengals will activate from IR. The Bengals placed Phillips on IR in late September, but the second-year corner returned to practice last week.
A 15-game starter last year, Redmond only made two starts for the Bengals this year. He began this season with a four-game suspension and suffered an ankle injury weeks ago. The third-year blocker was set to return to action in Week 12 but suffered this biceps malady during pregame warmups. Par for the course for what’s been a brutal Bengals season, particularly on the offensive front.
Phillips will be used in a backup role, per Zac Taylor. The 2018 fifth-round pick has played in 18 games, making one start in that time. Redmond can be retained next year via RFA tender, though the 2017 UDFA will not have much momentum going into that process.
The Bengals have designated CB Darius Phillips to return from injured reserve, the club announced. Phillips was placed on IR at the end of September with a knee injury.
A fifth-round pick in the 2018 draft, Phillips has played in 18 games (one start) for Cincinnati in his brief career. The Western Michigan product has one interception to his name, which he notched in the team’s Week 3 loss to the Bills. He was also used on kickoff returns before going on IR, and he returned six kicks for an average of 22.8 yards per return.
The Bengals rank near the bottom of the league in pass defense, and as the only winless team in football, they might as well see what a young DB like Phillips has to offer, so he could get a fair amount of playing time if he ultimately returns to the field. He will be able to start practicing with the team today, and then Cincinnati will have a 21-day window to determine if it wants to activate him or shut him down for the rest of the season.
September 26th, 2019 at 4:59pm CST by Sam Robinson
Torry McTyer will return to an NFL active roster. The Bengals will bring the third-year cornerback to their 53-man roster, plucking him off the Chiefs’ practice squad, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
The Bengals placed cornerback Darius Phillips on IR to make room for McTyer’s arrival. The latter spent three-plus weeks on Kansas City’s practice squad, arriving in western Missouri after the Dolphins waived him on cutdown weekend.
A more committed Dolphins team used McTyer in 15 games last season, deploying the UNLV-produced defender as a starter in four 2018 games. Overall, McTyer has played in 22 NFL contests since arriving as a 2017 Dolphins UDFA.
Phillips has played in 18 Bengals games since arriving in Cincinnati as a 2018 fifth-round pick. A knee injury will send Phillips to IR, though the Bengals view the backup corner — who notched his first career interception in Week 3 — as a possible return candidate later this season, per The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. (Twitter link).
Bill Musgrave, who was elevated to Broncos‘ offensive coordinator once Mike McCoy was dismissed after Week 10 of the 2017 campaign, could not effectuate many wholesale changes to the offense midseason. But as Mike Klis of 9News.com writes, Musgrave is installing an almost completely different offense this year. “Yeah, it’s pretty much all different,” Musgrave said.
Denver ranked 27th in the league in scoring last season, and everyone from the front office down believed that McCoy’s complex system was a big reason for that, although the team’s offense has been in a funk since the second half of the 2014 season. However, the Broncos hope that Case Keenum will bring much-needed stability to the quarterback position, and that Musgrave’s more streamlined offense — which was developed along with GM John Elway, head coach Vance Joseph, and personnel advisor Gary Kubiak — will lead to improved results in 2018.
Now let’s take look at a few other AFC notes and rumors:
Although Tom Brady has not announced when he will return to the Patriots, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, just like owner Robert Kraft, expects him to be present for the team’s mandatory minicamp this week. Brady’s backups, Brian Hoyer and Danny Etling, have gotten increased work in Brady’s absence, and it remains unclear as to how Brady will be received by head coach Bill Belichick when he returns. While Brady will likely not have much trouble making up for lost time, his absence has created plenty of buzz in the NFL world, and it is not helping the already palpable tension between him and his coach.
Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says Patriots second-year TE Jacob Hollister, who made the team as a UDFA last year, has added some noticeable weight and strength and has looked good in OTAs. Hollister will compete for No. 3 TE reps with free agent signee Troy Niklas, who comes with a better draft pedigree but who has not done much in his first few professional seasons.
Jets CEO Christopher Johnson‘s pro-player stance on the national anthem issue will likely not be a major factor when it comes to luring free agents, but Rich Cimini of ESPN.com says it is suggestive of a player-friendly environment, which could be a selling point if a player has narrowed his choice to a couple of teams. In the same piece, Cimini notes that the team is rededicating itself to a physical and prominent running game, which free agent signee Isaiah Crowell will lead, and that Quincy Enunwa still expects to be ready for the start of training camp.
Steelers‘ 2018 second-round choice James Washington is the presumptive favorite to assume the team’s No. 3 WR job following the draft-day trade of Martavis Bryant. But as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com writes, Justin Hunter — a former second-round pick of the Titans whose star never rose like some expected — has been getting a few first-team reps during this year’s OTAs, and he is making the most of them. Hunter, like Bryant, is a lanky deep threat capable of making plays downfield, and he hopes to become a consistent target for Ben Roethlisberger.
Both Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap are entering the final year of their respective contracts, and as Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes, the Bengals clearly want to keep Atkins around long-term. Whether or not they want to keep Dunlap could hinge not only on the performance of the young defensive lineman already on the roster, but on next year’s crop of rookies. 2019 is already being labeled “the year of the defensive lineman,” and if the 2019 crop of collegiate prospects lives up to its billing, Cincinnati could be perfectly content to let Dunlap walk. We learned yesterday that Dunlap would end his short-lived holdout and report to the team.
In the same piece linked above, Dehner names Bengals‘ 2018 fifth-round choice Darius Phillips as the late-round pick who has stood out the most thus far. Phillips has been deployed as a slot corner in spring practices and has looked sharp and instinctive. He also has been getting a shot at punt returner, as he is reportedly electric with the ball in his hands.
The Bengals signed four draft picks yesterday, and they’ve inked three more rookies today. Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports (via Twitter) that Cincy has signed three players: second-round safety Jessie Bates, fourth-round running back Mark Walton, and fifth-round cornerback Darius Phillips.
Bates, who was taken with the 54th pick, is the most notable name on the list. The Wake Forest product finished his sophomore season with 77 tackles, six tackles for loss, and one interception. During the 2016 campaign, the safety had 100 tackles and five interceptions. The Bengals had been eyeing a cover safety, and Bates’ versatiltiy should help him get on the field. The 21-year-old is projected to play behind starters ShawnWilliams and George Iloka to begin the year.
Following a 1,000-yard, 14-touchdown season in 2016, Walton’s 2017 campaign was cut short due to an ankle injury. The Miami product ultimately compiled 428 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 56 carries in only five games. Walton has also shown some talent catching the ball, hauling in 56 receptions during his three seasons. He’ll likely serve as the Bengals’ third running back behind JoeMixon and GiovaniBernard.
During his time at Western Michigan, Phillips set the FBS record with 12 return touchdowns. He’s a candidate to return kicks and punts in Cincinnati, and he’ll serve as a depth cornerback piece (alongside fellow fifth-round rookie Darius Phillips).