This week’s joint practices between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals almost never happened. However, the fact that these two teams had the deepest playoff runs during the 2021-22 season was just the recipe for Zac Taylor to accept an invite from his old boss, Sean McVay.
The Rams and Bengals are meeting for the first time since the Super Bowl (when else would they have though?) on Wednesday in a round of joint practices, and Taylor noted that he wouldn’t be doing that this year if not for a call from McVay. Taylor said that most of the other potential “dancing partners” were already busy but the fact that L.A. was also one of the last two teams standing helped push the cause along.
Bengals coach Zac Taylor said he wouldn't have had a joint practice had Rams coach Sean McVay not called. Said most of the other "dancing partners" got snatched up during the team's run to the Super Bowl.— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) August 24, 2022
It has now been a little over six months since the Rams defeated the Bengals 23-20 to win their first Super Bowl title since 1999.
It's still weird to me that the Bengals and Rams have joint practices this week.— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) August 23, 2022
Like, I'm not over it yet, guys.
How much difference does Cincinnati look today? The main thing that Taylor wanted to clean up was the offensive line that got ransacked by Aaron Donald and Von Miller in the Super bowl. The Bengals now feature former Cowboys tackle La’el Collins on the right side, former Patriots lineman Ted Karras at center, former Bucs right guard Alex Cappa taking that position in Cincinnati, and rookie Cordell Volson battling for left guard.
Essentially, the Bengals are having the same offseason as what the Chiefs had after losing the Super Bowl one year prior. What Taylor cares the most about though is protecting his quarterback, saying “Stay away from the quarterback, please” and mentioning there would be no tackling in a pre-practice press conference.
Bengals coach Zac Taylor said there won’t be tackling during the joint practices with the Rams.— Sarah Barshop (@sarahbarshop) August 24, 2022
Quarterback Joe Burrow also spoke to the media, saying that it is “just a practice” and that it won’t have the impact of a regular season game or...a Super Bowl, obviously.
Bengals QB Joe Burrow said he hasn't put much thought about facing the Rams this week in the practices after playing them in SB LVI. "It's just a practice."— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) August 24, 2022
The Bengals also now feature Hayden Hurst at tight end but in many ways are the same team they were last season. The team recently got safety Jessie Bates III to sign the franchise tag, assuring his place on the defense for Week 1. Among the matchups that Bengals writer Ben Baby is looking forward to is L.A.’s offense against the secondary, Ja’Marr Chase vs. Jalen Ramsey, and how the new-look offensive line holds up.
Matchups I can't wait to see during the two Rams-Bengals joint practices this week:— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) August 24, 2022
-- Rams offense vs. Bengals secondary
-- Rams DL vs. Bengals OL
-- Bengals WR Ja'Marr Chase vs. Rams DB Jalen Ramsey
This is basically the first time that Bengals fans get to see what the new offensive line looks like and perfectly it comes against the very defensive line that wrecked Taylor’s crew six months ago.
La’el Collins and the rest of the new Bengals line should be good to go today against the Rams Dline. Big first test.— Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) August 24, 2022
The Rams and Bengals then play in their preseason finale on Saturday at 3 PM PT on the NFL Network.