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Bengals backup receivers Trent Taylor and backup set to replace Ja’Marr Chase

CINCINNATI, Ohio- Cincinnati Bengals Wide receiver Trent Taylor’s mentality is strictly “next man.”

Cliché or not, Taylor knows her role could change in the days and weeks to come with Absence of Ja’Marr Chase due to a hip injury. Listed as the starting punt returner and backup slot receiver Tyler Boyd, Taylor could split reps with Michael Thomas, who is listed behind Tee Higgins on the depth chart, among others, as Boyd will likely line up wide.

Even as Chase’s injury scatters the receiving corps, there’s no shortage of confidence for Taylor and his sidelined comrades.

“I’ve always said we had the best receiving corps in the league. It’s not just our top three guys. Our whole depth chart has a lot of guys that can do different things. It’s just a super well-rounded group,” Taylor said Friday.

Taylor has played just 35 offensive snaps this season without a single reception. He has, however, returned 14 punts for 170 yards in the Bengals’ seven games this season. It was pretty much the same for him last season. He spent 2021 on Cincinnati’s practice squad and played in eight games, including the Bengals’ four playoff games, through game-day elevations as a wide receiver and punt returner.

The signing moment for Taylor came in the AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs in January. He grabbed a 2-point conversion from quarterback Joe Burrow with 14 seconds left, helping lead the Bengals’ historic comeback in the 27-24 overtime win.

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Yet, interestingly, his only regular season catches last year came in a 21-16 Week 17 road loss at Cleveland. With the Bengals already clinching the AFC North and resting most of their starters heading into the playoffs, Taylor played 59% of total offensive snaps, finishing with two catches and 41 yards.

He was not alone in this loss. Other current backups such as running back Chris Evans, receivers Thomas and Stanley Morgan and tight end Mitchell Wilcox have seen action. With the Bengals hooked up for a Monday night rematch with Cleveland next week, Taylor says these snaps from last season will help make a difference in replacing Chase.

“We all did it specifically against the Browns. We have a bunch of clips from guys who have played against the Browns in the past. So we plan to continue doing what we’re doing,” Taylor said. “Ja’Marr is down, so now it’s an opportunity for me. Now it’s about how I prepare week by week for this chance. I think I’ll be ready, but we’ll see what happens. will pass.

Before news of Chase’s injury broke, Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan told reporters this week that “it’s hard to get these guys to touch” referring to the even distribution of games between tight end Hayden Hurst and running backs like Evans and Joe Mixon. With Chase out, it might not prove so difficult against Cleveland now, especially since Callahan outlined the optics for next Monday’s game.

“We don’t want to get 0-3 (in the division). It would be a bad place for us so early in the season in a division race,” Callahan said. “We will be ready. It’s gonna be fun.”

Morgan, Chase’s backup, whose role is mostly on special teams, didn’t practice at all last week due to hamstring issues and was a doubt against Atlanta last Sunday. He didn’t end up playing that game. So far, he also hasn’t participated in training this week, but his status for Monday has not been disclosed.

In six games, Morgan has played 25 snaps and failed to catch. Thomas has just two receptions, including a 33-yard reception against Baltimore as he replaced Higgins. Morgan kept his remarks with reporters very brief this week, echoing the same “next man” mentality that Taylor noted in honor of Chase.

“We’re just going out there, following our assignments and doing our jobs, making sure we raise it (Chase) and bring that win home,” Morgan said.

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