“It was fun. It’s hard to walk away from a guy. He’s big and strong and fast,” Burrow said.
But there was also good news. Tight end Hayden Hurst (calf) and cornerback Tre Flowers (hamstring) have gone full and neither with a lingering injury is objectionable.
It was a good time for Taylor to give a shout-out to head strength and conditioning coach Joey Boese and first-year sports medicine director/chief athletic trainer Matt Summers. The only team that has played as many games as the Bengals have in the first two seasons of the 17-game schedule are the 49ers, back in the NFC title.
Though they suffered more serious injuries this year than last year, the streak and two-year record of 27-12 confirms that intense tracking of GPS numbers by Boese and assistants Garrett Swanson and Todd Hunt is bearing fruit.
“We work hard to make sure we’re on top of all of that and that starts with Joey, Matt Summers, Garrett Swanson and Todd Hunt doing a great job with the sports science stuff,” Taylor said. “We pulled Ja’Marr (Chase) and Tee (Higgins) from Super Bowl practice last Thursday because they were at their peak and we wanted them to be fresh on Sunday.
“We did our best to orchestrate our boot camp practices around the soft tissue to try and avoid all of those injuries to make sure we get through boot camp, do the physical work that we need to do, and make sure our kids are healthy and that aren’t niggling injuries at the start of the season, I just think that part of the staff… (did) a great job coordinating together, formulating a plan, being diligent every single week, and not just, ‘Okay, it’s January what happens what happens.’ They’re on it. Joey put the numbers on my desk yesterday too.
What may not be in the GPS is Burrow’s wrist because it doesn’t look like he has one. He did, however, note how the Chiefs have ramped up their pace on defense with rookies like George Karlaftis. The secondary caught his attention, especially rookie cornerbacks Trent McDuffie and Jaylen Watson.
“I’m impressed with how their rookies have played. You can tell they’ve improved a lot during the season, and are more solid in play and technique, and are good players,” said Burrow. “And their D-line is disruptive, and you can tell they’re well trained and they’re healthy in everything they do.”
“Their rookie corners, both of them are getting better every week. You can tell they’ve worked hard at what they do. They’re two of the best corners we’ve played so far.”
The ping-pong ball rang and rang. Music blared through the walls. Rookie cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt has returned to his locker, the one where he has a $20 bill taped to remind “there’s money on the floor,” to have.
Four quarters from the big and it was 9 to 5. Someone asked Joey Frost what he had planned for Saturday’s flight.
“I’m pretty much done with my own film studio,” Burrow said. “Playing Super Smash Brothers occasionally during the flight. It’s always fun.”