Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said he has noticed the team’s defense developing chemistry over the last several months as well as executing the scheme well.
On Wednesday, Taylor highlighted the role of defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo in that success.
“I think Lou has done a good job,” Taylor said. “We are playing really fast and at a high level and giving us opportunities to win games — (it) hasn't always happened but I think they've done a good job, particularly this last stretch of the season.”
Over the last six weeks, the Bengals have allowed an average of just 22.6 points per game even though Cincinnati’s offense has often given the defense poor field position. During that stretch, the Bengals have allowed 40 fewer passing yards and 38 fewer rushing yards per game than before the start of that six-game stretch.
Bengals safety Jessie Bates said he’s confident in the direction the defense is going.
“I think we’re playing just fine,” Bates said. “I mean you look at (it) from the front line to the back end, guys have played very well and very tough… There’s gonna be some tweaks because contracts are up and stuff like that. We just have to make sure everyone’s on the same page and continue to build off this principle.”
Brandon Allen hopes to remain in Cincinnati
Coming off the best start of his NFL career, Bengals quarterback Brandon Allen said he wants to stay in Cincinnati for the 2021 season.
“Obviously I would love to come back,” Allen said. “I think this organization's on the right track. I think Zac has it going in the right direction, and I'd love to be here to see that come full circle.”
Against the Texans, Allen completed 29-of-37 passes for 371 yards and threw two touchdown passes. Even though Allen started the season on the practice squad, Taylor believed in Allen enough to move him back to the starting role after he suffered a knee injury and quarterback Ryan Finley led Cincinnati to a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"I felt Brandon had made good progress,” Taylor said. “I know the Dallas game is what it was. I thought he had done some things to execute the plan the way that we wanted it done. We expected him to do the same thing once he got healthy against Houston, and he did that for us.”
The Bengals backup quarterback for the 2021 season will carry more significance than in a normal year as starter Joe Burrow recovers from a knee injury. If Burrow isn’t ready for the season opener, Taylor would have to rely on his backup all preseason and in the first game of the year.
But Taylor said the Bengals won’t decide on a backup quarterback for 2021 until the offseason.
"I'm glad we've got Brandon,” Taylor said “He's done a great job for us, particularly in these last two games he's played.”
Jonah Williams won’t play again in 2020.
Technically, the Bengals could activate left tackle Jonah Williams this week from the injured reserve list. Williams suffered a minor knee injury against the Miami Dolphins, and Taylor said at the time the injury was less serious than it looked.
Williams won’t play again this season, but Taylor said he’s progressing well.
“He's doing great, and again, if this season was longer, then maybe there's an opportunity there,” Taylor said. “But it's not, so he's not gonna be able to play this week. But again, it wasn't a major long-term injury.”
Taylor said cornerback William Jackson and wide receiver Tyler Boyd both remain in the concussion protocol, and he’s not sure yet if they will play in Week 17.
“They’re both in the protocol, so it’s hard for me to say one way (or another) because you just never know how that’s going to go,” Taylor said.
Boyd was limited in practice Wednesday, and Jackson did not participate.
Wide receiver Tee Higgins was limited Wednesday with a hamstring injury, and linebacker Logan Wilson did not practice with an ankle injury.