Bengals Notes: Confidence shown in WRs other than Boyd; six don't practice, two limited
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - With standout wide receiver A.J. Green out for at least this Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints it means that Tyler Boyd will likely be the focal point of the coverage, and that means the Bengals cadre of other young receivers will have an opportunity to make plays, but to this point none have proven they are capable of consistently doing that.
While Green, who is dealing with a toe injury, and Boyd have combined for 89 receptions (on 142 targets) for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns, John Ross, Alex Erickson, Josh Malone and Cody Core have combined for 19 receptions (on 40 targets) for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie seventh-round draft pick Auden Tate has yet to play in a game, but he will likely be active Sunday.
"John has done good things when he's been out there and healthy," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. "We just have to keep pressing forward, and the other guys have to continue to make plays when they get opportunities."
Ross is just returning from a groin injury that forced him to miss the Oct. 28 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was a full participant at Wednesday's practice.
He initially suffered the groin injury while catching a 39-yard touchdown pass in the Sept. 30 game at Atlanta, which caused him to miss the next two games against Miami and Pittsburgh.
He also had a 13-yard reception against the Falcons as he appeared to bounce back nicely from a disappointing game at Carolina on Sept. 23 in which he ran a wrong route and then didn't fight for the ball that led to one interception and didn't come back hard enough on another route, which led to another interception.
That performance visibly angered quarterback Andy Dalton on the sideline during the game and raised questions about Ross' reliability, but the performance against Atlanta seemed to a step in the right direction only to have Ross get derailed by injury.
Dalton said he expects big things from Ross on Sunday.
"We just need him to play his game," said Dalton. "I'm glad we're getting him back. He's going to be a big part of what we do. He just needs to play his game and not worry about anything else."
Erickson is a steady, but unspectacular player, while Malone hasn't played much since he also didn't fight hard for a 50-50 ball against Carolina that led to an interception and Core has had issues simply catching the ball.
"I believe in the guys always, no matter what," said Boyd, who leads the Bengals with 49 receptions. "Since A.J. is down, it opens a large percentage of balls thrown to the next guy, whoever comes in there and does what they have to do. The sky is the limit for whoever wants to come in and take full advantage."
SIX DON'T PRACTICE, TWO OTHERS LIMITED: There were five players in addition to Green who did not participate in Wednesday's practice: linebacker Vontaze Burfict (hip), cornerback Darqueze Dennard (sternoclavicular), tight end Tyler Kroft (foot), linebacker Nick Vigil (knee) and guard Alex Redmond (hamstring).
Burfict, Dennard, Kroft and Vigil worked on a side rehab field during Wednesday's practice.
Dennard, who got hurt in the Oct. 14 games against Pittsburgh and hasn't practiced since, also worked out on the rehab field during Monday's practice, while this was the first time Burfict, Kroft and Vigil haved worked out on the rehab field since suffering their injuries.
Burfict did not play against Tampa Bay after injuring his hip against Kansas City on Oct. 21 and hasn't practiced since.
Kroft hasn't practiced since suffering his injury against Miami, while Vigil hasn't practiced since suffering his injury against Pittsburgh.
Redmond practiced on Monday and may have suffered his injury then.
Running back Giovani Bernard and tight end C.J. Uzomah were both limited participants in Wednesday's practice.
Bernard also participated in Monday's practice, which marked the first one Bernard participated since suffering a sprained knee in the Atlanta game. He missed each of the last four games because of it.
Uzomah has been dealing with the shoulder issue for a few weeks and re-injured it against Tampa Bay, although he played 97 percent of the offensive snaps in that game.
He said on Monday he will be able to play against New Orleans and that the coaching staff was likely going to take it easy with him during practice leading up to the game.
Guard Clint Boling was a full participant in Wednesday's practice after not participating on Monday. He left the Tampa Bay game late in the first half due to a back issue.
Center Billy Price was also a full participant and is slated to start his first game back since injuring his foot in the Sept. 13 game against Baltimore.
SAINTS INJURY/PRACTICE PARTICIPATION REPORT: Here is the Saints injury/practice participation report for Wednesday that included all five members of their starting offensive line:
- Did Not Participate: DE Marcus Davenport (toe); WR Cameron Meredith (knee); G Larry Warford (non-injury related) and CB P.J. Williams (hamstring).
- Limited Participants: OT Terron Armstead (knee); G Andrus Peat (hip); T Ryan Ramczyk and C Max Unger (knee).