Despite allowing the most yards and second-most points in a preseason game during his five seasons as Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator, Lou Anarumo was encouraged by some of the performances he saw from his younger players during Friday night’s 36-19 loss to the Packers.
Bengals Safety Tycen Anderso Praised for Big Plays, but Has More To Clean Up
Speaking with reporters following Sunday’s practice, Anarumo touched on the good and the bad from his charges, starting with second-year safety Tycen Anderson, who had two of the game’s biggest plays, a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown and another pick that set up the Bengals offense at the Green Bay 36 with 1:04 left in the first half.
“Any time you see a guy make a play on the football and score, it’s great,” Anarumo said. “He had two of them, which was good to see. But there’s certainly enough stuff that he’s got to clean up in the other parts of the game. But we were happy with what we saw.”
After the game, Anderson was trying to track down his interception balls. Asked Sunday if he got them, he confirmed he did and said one was for him and one was for dad. Asked who got the touchdown ball, he said, “That’s all mine. Dad got the other one.”
Anarumo Speaks on Dax Hill, Jordan Battle
Anarumo dished on Dax Hill, who was the only Bengals starter on either side of the ball who played, logging 21 snaps (32 percent).
“Dax needs to play that position and get better at it,” Anarumo said. “Dax did well. He was around the ball and made that nice range play that we know he can do. There’s still some things he’s got to clean up when he’s closer to the ball in the box, be a little more physical at times, but I thought he did well.”
The glorious Dax Hill pass breakup from all-22
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Anarumo spoke about rookie third-round safety Jordan Battle, who along with defensive tackle Jay Tufele led the defense in snaps with 50 (76 percent) and finished with two tackles, including one for a loss, and a pass breakup. But he also had a missed tackle and finished with a 29.8 grade from Pro Football Focus, the lowest on the team.
“He’s just getting his legs underneath him. He hasn’t done much because he had a hamstring, so his legs were a little dead and you could see it. He’s got to continue to improve. He’s got to tackle better. But he did do some good things.
“He was involved in one of the long plays from a negative standpoint,” Anarumo added, referring to a 47-yard catch and run by Packers wide receiver Dontayvion Wicks. “He’s just got to clean up his angle. We had a bunch of those issues the other night.”
Regarding Tufele, whom the Bengals signed off waivers from Jacksonville after last year’s cutdown day and tied for the team lead with five tackles against the Packers, Anarumo seemed pleased.
“Jay’s kind of a gamer. I don’t know that I necessarily love him out here every day,” Anarumo said with a smirk. “No, I’m kidding. He’s a great guy, and when the lights go on, he turns it up another gear. And he’s shown that it’s not just against the other teams’ 2s and 3s. He’s done it in meaningful games for us. He will add great depth to that position.”
Latest on Bengals’ Young Defenders
Anarumo touched a but on first-round pick Myles Murphy, who played 34 snaps (52 percent) and finished two tackles and a quarterback hit:
“A lot of those guys, it was their first NFL game. We’ll chalk it up to that,” Anarumo said. “Hopefully we’ll see an improved group when they’re all out there as one. But he’s done better every day out here. He’s just got to shift it into a different gear when we get out there in a game. “
Second-year defensive lineman Zach Carter only played five snaps, which is a good indication of how high he sits on the depth chart after a difficult rookie season getting used to playing on the interior of the defensive line instead of the edge, as he did for most of his time at the University of Florida.
“Zach’s done well. He’s been real focused,” Anarumo said. “I’m real happy with everything about him. He’s strong, he’s aggressive. You can see it’s his second year, and I mean that in a positive way. I’m happy with everything he’s done.”
Second-round cornerback DJ Turner, who has been one of the stars of camp, played 42 snaps (64 percent) against Green Bay.
“He’s a rookie. He’s gonna make errors,” Anarumo said. “He had one the other night where they threw a short little glance route, and he was kind of nowhere near it. And he needs to be. But he has a lot of the tools that you look for in a really good cover corner. He’s progressing every day. There’s a good reason why he was drafted where he was drafted, and we’re seeing it. And he’s a hard-working guy, so the sky’s the limit for him.”
Of the four players who left Friday night’s game with injuries, only one – Allan George – was practicing Sunday.
Tight end Tanner Hudson (concussion), linebacker Joe Bachie (chest), and defensive Yusuf Corker (hamstring) were at practice but not participating.
George said he “was gassed” but others, including teammate Cam Taylor-Britt, thought his demeanor might have been the result of a head injury. George was evaluated for a concussion and cleared, but because it happened so late in the game, he didn’t go back in.
“I was just gassed, but they were wondering how I was feeling,” George said. “My good friend Cam Taylor-Britt was alarmed about it. Since we grew up together, he was probably like, ‘Oh, dang. I need to check my friend, my childhood guy.’ He made sure he told the trainers, but everything’s fine.”
Quarterback Joe Burrow (calf) was on the field watching his second consecutive practice after attending the joint session with the Packers last week. Running back Trayveon Williams (ankle) also was at practice but not participating.
Running back Joe Mixon came up limping after running a route in practice and was replaced by Chris Evans, but Mixon reentered a couple of plays later and scored a touchdown in a red zone drill.
Odds and Ends
- For the second practice in a row, slot corner Mike Hilton jumped a screen pass for what would have been a pick six. After victimizing Green Bay’s Jordan Love on Wednesday, Hilton did it to Trevor Siemian on Sunday, making a diving snap of a pass intended for Tee Higgins.
- Bengals punter Drue Chrisman made his training camp debut and talked about the scary incident that sent him to the hospital.
- Trevor Siemian, who played the second half Friday, got the reps with the first team and hit Ja’Marr Chase for a long touchdown on the fourth play of 11-on-11, beating Cam-Taylor Britt to start a rough day for the second-year corner.
- After struggling Friday night, Jackson Carman was taking reps at left tackle, which is just further proof of the competition at right tackle with Jonah Williams winning by technical knockout.
- D’Ante Smith looks as though he has supplanted Carman as the leading candidate to be the swing tackle as the 53-man roster starts to take shape. The 2021 fourth-round pick played the most snaps on offensive Friday night, working at both left and right tackle, and he was repping both spots Sunday as well. Smith looked good in one-on-one pass drills in practice. On back-to-back reps, he won against Myles Murphy at right tackle before flipping to left tackle and winning against Joseph Ossai.
- Allan George had a strong practice with a couple of pass breakups, one against Andrei Iosivas and the other while covering Kwamie Lassiter II. He also forced Trenton Irwin out of bounds shy of the goal line following a catch in the low red zone.
- DJ Reader had a sack in the red zone drill.
- B.J. Hill had a tackle for loss against Mixon.
- Irv Smith Jr. caught a touchdown pass from Siemian on a low red zone play.
- Chris Evans scored a touchdown on a 4-yard run, prompting offensive line coach and run-game coordinator Frank Pollack to yell, “that’s the way to hit it, Chris.” The Bengals coaches have been frustrated with Evans’ penchant for bouncing plays rather than running through the designed gaps, so it was a noticeable play for the third-year back.