The Cincinnati Bengals are set to host the Los Angeles Rams for joint practices this week.
Ahead of the practices, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor had two specific requests for his team — no tackling and don’t be a headline.
Zac Taylor addressed the team this morning about expectations for joint practices. Per Vonn Bell, Taylor had a simple message about today.
“Don’t be a headline.”
— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) August 24, 2022
That’s a reasonable request from Taylor. You don’t want anyone getting hurt and you don’t want to create distractions.
Most Bengals players will likely do their best to honor Taylor’s request.
Bengals coach Zac Taylor said there won’t be tackling during the joint practices with the Rams.
— Sarah Barshop (@sarahbarshop) August 24, 2022
There’s one player, however, that Taylor might have to corral a bit — quarterback Joe Burrow.
Burrow obviously doesn’t want to get drilled by Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald. And he said as much on Wednesday.
“I’m hoping he’s going to lay off me a little bit. Practice is practice … guys are going to get close. Hope no one goes rogue.” Joe Burrow on Aaron Donald in joint practices.
— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) August 24, 2022
Burrow, though, admitted that deep down he’s hoping for a little contact this week, telling reporters that it “wouldn’t feel like football without it”.
I’m sure Taylor cringed when he heard that comment from Burrow.
Joe Burrow was asked if he, deep-down, wants to feel some contact this week.
“Yeah, it doesn’t feel like football without it.” pic.twitter.com/PiZZHHBne3
— Caleb Noe (@CalebNoeTV) August 24, 2022
If anyone gets into an altercation with a Rams player this week, I halfway expect it to be Burrow.
He’s one of the most competitive players on this planet.
And when those competitive juices get flowing — as I’m sure they will be during these practices with Los Angeles — it can be easy to get caught up in the moment.
Remember, Burrow and former LSU linebacker Patrick Queen (now with the Baltimore Ravens) once came to blows during a practice in Baton Rouge (that fight came during a similar situation where Burrow wasn’t supposed to be hit after he had suffered an injury).
Here’s former LSU head coach Ed Orgeron telling the story:
Sunday should be the beginning of a long-lasting & exciting rivalry between LB Patrick Queen and QB Joe Burrow.
They’re still friends, but it sounds like it won’t be hard to transition from teammates to adversaries.
“I had to stop the fight,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron explains … pic.twitter.com/eNtQRSUNOK
— Sarah Ellison (@sgellison) October 11, 2020
I wouldn’t be surprised if something similar happens this week with the Rams.
And that will result in Burrow failing to honor Taylor’s two requests. Because we all know if Burrow gets in a squirmish, it’s going to be the biggest headline in the NFL for about 24 hours.
I wonder if Taylor is regretting hosting the Rams for these joint practices right about now?