What Bengals said before facing Seahawks: Chase responds to DK
Oct 13, 2023, 12:38 PM | Updated: 1:02 pm
(Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
The Seattle Seahawks’ (3-1) first game out of their bye will be an early road contest against the Cincinnati Bengals (2-3), a team who bounced back from a slow start with a win over the Arizona Cardinals (more on that in a moment).
It’ll be a reunion for Shane Waldron and a big-time challenge for rookie corner Devon Witherspoon. Here’s the latest from both teams:
Burrow on being limited by his calf injury
Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow said this is “by far” the closest he’s felt to being 100 percent since injuring his calf in training camp.
“It’s hard to say (what percent exactly),” Burrow told reporters Friday. “I’m confident I can run around and extend and makes plays right now. Tough to say percentage-wise, but we’re pretty close.”
The Bengals offense had mustered the fewest yards of any team through four weeks prior to their game against the Cardinals. The sheer ineffectiveness — with just three offensive touchdowns to start the season — was a strange sight for a group that last season had two 1,000 yard receivers and a quarterback who threw for over 35 touchdowns. They looked more like that version of themselves in their Week 5 win over the Cardinals; Ja’Marr Chase finished with 192 receiving yards and all three of Burrow’s passing touchdowns.
“It’s tough sleddin’ when you can’t move around in the pocket and can’t extend plays,” Burrow said of the team’s early struggles. “You’ve got to play a certain kind of way. So (last week) I was able to play the way I wanted to.”
Friendship takes a backseat
Head coach Zac Taylor will see a familiar face on the opposing sidelines Sunday. The Bengals head coach became close friends with Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron while they were both on Sean McVay’s staff in L.A.
“I enjoy being around him,” Taylor told reporters. “Our wives are really good friends. Our kids were the same age. We both lived right by the facility. He’s one of the guys I probably talk to as much as anybody, except for my brother, in this league. So we get along great. I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”
They haven’t talked this week — their last correspondence was Waldron sending him a photo of him watching Bengals tape. The respect stays, but friendship might be set aside for one Sunday afternoon.
Another reunion? Taylor and Geno Smith — kind of. Taylor recalled facing Smith in 2014 when the former was with the Jets and Taylor was assistant quarterbacks coach in Miami.
“Lou and I were talking about that,” Taylor said. “That was a decade ago. I don’t know if that’s one of those moments that makes me feel really old… (but) it’s really impressive the job he’s done there in Seattle. You can just tell the leadership he’s got. Does a great job understanding their offense. Throws with great anticipation and touch, doing a really good job attacking defenses. He’s done a great job there.”
Witherspoon’s Week 6 battle
Seattle’s receivers pack a punch for opposing offenses, but so too does Bengals wideout Ja’Marr Chase. Chase’s 15-reception day in Week 5 broke a Bengals franchise record. According to Pro Football Focus, 14 of those catches were for either a first down or a touchdown.
So yes, rookie Devon Witherspoon will have his hands full in any one-on-one matchups. But his teammate has faith in him.
“Just the long ball that Burrow threw to him, on like a 70-yard bomb, just how effortlessly he caught the ball,” DK Metcalf said when reporters asked what he can appreciate from Chase’s Week 5 tape. “He’s just a great receiver. Tip my hat off to him with what he’s done his first three years in the league. It’ll be fun to watch Sunday but I think Spoon will get the best of him.”
Witherspoon is coming off his best game yet as a pro, with two sacks and a 97-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Giants.
Reporters in Cincinnati asked Chase how he felt about Metcalf’s comments Friday.
“This is the perfect song for this question right here,” Chase said with a laugh as music blared in the background. The song? That would be Drake’s “IDGAF” (feat. Yeat).
“He ain’t doin’ nothing but praising his teammate. That’s what he’s supposed to do. At the end of the day it’s about game time reps… so he’s gonna get the opportunity to get his matchups and just see who wins that matchup.”