Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jake Browning will make his second career start Monday night and his first with wide receiver Tee Higgins available.
Higgins took all of the necessary steps the coaching staff and training staff needed to see this week in order to play against the Jacksonville Jaguars after missing the last three games with a hamstring injury.
How Many Games Has Bengals WR Tee Higgins Missed This Year?
The receiver also missed the game in Arizona, meaning he has played three of the last seven games. And with a slow start to the season with Joe Burrow battling a calf injury and the offense having a hard time moving the ball, Higgins has just 27 catches for 328 yards as he prepares to head into free agency after the season.
Browning, who is also auditioning for his future in the league, whether as Burrow’s backup again next year or somewhere else, talked about the importance of getting Higgins back.
“Tee’s one of the top receivers in the NFL,” he said. “I don’t think I can really put into words how important he is to this offense. I think we’ve got a really good receiver room, and I don’t want to take away from (it). I think Andrei (Iosivas) has continued to play really well. Trenton Irwin has proven he can do it. But there’s just something that Tee brings to the table being as big, as fast, and having the experience he does, where it’s always nice to have him and Ja’Marr (Chase) on the outside.”
The Bengals also will have linebacker Logan Wilson available after he sprained his ankle in Sunday’s loss to the Steelers. Wilson has been a full participant in every practice this week, and head coach Zac Taylor declared him good to go when speaking with reporters after Saturday’s practice.
Zac says Tee is good to go. Cam Taylor-Britt is out with an ankle sprain.
— Jay Morrison (@ByJayMorrison) December 2, 2023
But the bad news for the Bengals and their beleaguered defense is that starting cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt is out with an ankle he sprained in practice Friday. Taylor-Britt missed the Pittsburgh game with a quad injury but was trending toward playing against Jacksonville when he sprained his ankle in a team drill.
That means Chidobe Awuzie will get his second consecutive start after being supplanted by rookie second-round pick DJ Turner in Week 5 at Arizona. The Bengals had been bringing Awuzie along slowly as he recovered from his October 2022 ACL tear, having him split time with Turner. But Turner has continued to impress and has been taking the bulk of the snaps.
Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo said he liked what he saw from Awuzie in his return to the starting lineup against the Steelers, playing a season-high 69 snaps.
Backup defensive tackle Jay Tufele is questionable after missing the last two days due to illness. Backup offensive lineman D’Ante Smith also is questionable with a knee injury that sidelined him last week against Pittsburgh.
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