Cincinnati Bengals starting tight end Irv Smith Jr. and punt returner Charlie Jones missed their third consecutive practice this week and have been ruled out for Sunday’s game at Tennessee.
Is Bengals Quarterback Joe Burrow on the Injury Report?
Jones injured his right thumb in the 19-16 Monday night win against the Rams, while Smith has been battling a hamstring injury since the Thursday practice before that game.
The Bengals elevated Tanner Hudson from the practice squad Monday night for more tight end depth, and he ended up having more receiving yards (30) than the other two tights on the active roster, Drew Sample (10) and Mitch Wilcox (seven).
Looks like no Charlie Jones or Irv Smith Jr at #Bengals practice again today.
— Jay Morrison (@ByJayMorrison) September 29, 2023
The expectation is that Hudson will be elevated again Sunday.
The likely replacement for Jones as the punt returner is wide receiver Trenton Irwin, who was inactive Monday night.
Irwin has three career punt returns and four fair catches. He returned two punts for 26 yards at Detroit in 2021, and he had one return for five yards later that season against the Chargers.
As for the most important calf in team history, Joe Burrow was a full participant for the second consecutive practice. Head coach Zac Taylor said Burrow’s progress is encouraging, but he did not want to take a guess at how close his quarterback is to 100 percent.
“I thought he looked good,” Taylor said. “I won’t put percentages on it. I’ll let him answer those questions. But I thought he looked good.”
Also not practicing today was cornerback Chidobe Awuzie, as the Bengals continue to manage his workload as he closes in on the year anniversary of his ACL injury on Oct. 31.
Awuzie’s snap percentages have steadily increased from 53 to 58 to 78 through the first three games. Sunday could mark the end of his platoon with rookie second-round pick DJ Turner II.
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