Cincinnati Bengals Minicamp: What Are the Top Storylines To Watch This Week?

Joe Burrow's wrist will be something to monitor this week at Cincinnati Bengals minicamp after his absence from media viewing practice last week.

CINCINNATI – The Cincinnati Bengals will hold their mandatory minicamp Tuesday through Thursday at the team’s indoor facility.

If past seasons are any indication, the minicamp could be reduced to just Tuesday and Wednesday if the team has good practices those days and gets in all of the work head coach Zac Taylor wants to see.

Top Cincinnati Bengals Minicamp Storylines

Taylor hinted at shortening minicamp last week when discussing quarterback Joe Burrow’s absence from practice Tuesday and whether he expected him to participate all three days.

“That’s to be determined,” Taylor said. “There’s some flexibility with one of the mini-camp days in terms of what we’re actually going to do. I don’t want to put my foot in my mouth.”

Burrow’s situation is also top of mind for the Bengals, but several other storylines need to be monitored as Cincinnati completes its final work before taking off for six weeks for the summer break.

Here are some of the things to watch for this week.

Monitoring Joe Burrow

Burrow was not present last week for the practice open to the media, but Taylor said it was a routine off day he poorly planned — thinking the media viewing day was Monday, not Tuesday.

Burrow looked good in previous practices open to the media, and all eyes will be on his velocity and accuracy when he hits the field this week.

The Bengals had just one competitive period in each of the OTA (organized team activities) practices open to the media, a series of about 15 7-on-7 plays late in the session.

With minicamp being held inside the practice facility (which has only one field as opposed to three available to the team outdoors), it would suggest there will be more competitive periods since there will be less room for the team to break into numerous different groups for position drills.

The Bengals make the condensed space work for positional breakouts during their indoor Friday practices in the regular season, albeit with a smaller group of players.

Ja’Marr Chase Arrival, New Deal?

Pro Bowl wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase skipped the entire voluntary portion of the NFL offseason, but all indications are that he will be present for mandatory minicamp.

Not only will the optics be bad if he doesn’t show up, but he also would incur a fine.

Talking to the team website last week, Chase said he’s been spending the offseason getting his body right after dealing with back and shoulder issues last season.

Chase told bengals.com he is 100% healthy and that he got in a throwing session with Burrow in California last month.

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Could Chase follow former LSU teammate Justin Jefferson’s lead and sign an extension to kick off minicamp? It’s highly unlikely.

Both Chase and the Bengals appear to be in no hurry to hammer out the details after Jefferson set the bar with a four-year, $140 million extension that features $110 million guaranteed.

It’s unclear whether Tee Higgins has done any side work with Burrow. Higgins is not permitted to report for voluntary or mandatory practices at the facility until he signs his franchise tag.

While Chase’s appearance at minicamp seems likely, Higgins’ absence is more certain.

Right Tackle Rotation

Trent Brown, who signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract in March, has not participated in the voluntary offseason practices. Taylor didn’t seem bothered, though, saying he trusted the nine-year veteran to continue learning the new offense on his own on his iPad.

Taylor said he had faith in both Brown and defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins to stay in shape and get in their study time. Rankins reported last week and spoke about how important it was to get comfortable with minicamp, but Cincinnati still awaits Brown’s arrival.

First-round pick Amarius Mims has been taking first-team reps during the install portion of practices, as well as the rotational position drills. If Brown reports for minicamp, it will be interesting to see what that rotation looks like. Will Brown slide in with the starters, or will he slot behind Mims?

Either way, a position battle is on tap for training camp. But how they line up this week could be an indication of whether it’s Brown’s job to lose or a wide-open competition.

Dax Hill vs. DJ Turner II

If the Bengals increase the number of 7-on-7 periods, we’ll get to see more of Dax Hill playing outside cornerback.

Hill has been running with the second team behind DJ Turner II in OTAs, and he’s essentially competing against third-string receivers with the absences of Chase and Higgins rippling through the rotation.

At some point, we’re going to see Hill get some run with the 1s. Will defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo wait until training camp to do that? Or could we see it this week in minicamp?

Rookie Retention

Something that will be a storyline in minicamp, training camp, the preseason, and the regular season is how well the rookies are retaining all of the information thrown their way.

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Mims talked last month about making mistakes every day but is intent on not making the same error twice.

In some regards, minicamp will look a lot like OTAs. However, the coaching staff’s expectations will only continue to increase the further away from draft day.

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