Quick Hits: Chidobe Awuzie's Return To 7-On-7 Lifts Bengals; Backup QB Derby 'Up In The Air' 

Seth Tanner
CB Chidobe Awuzie during training camp at the Kettering Health Practice Fields on Sunday, August 20, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Bengals No. 1 cornerback Chidobe Awuzie’s first appearance of training camp in seven-on-seven drills during Sunday’s practice is his biggest market yet in his bid to be back on the field in Cleveland for the Sept. 10, regular-season opener.

It will be recalled that’s where his Pro Bowl-type season was cut short last year on Halloween night.

“It’s a lift anytime you see a leader and someone who has been through an injury of that magnitude come all the way back,” said cornerbacks coach Charles Burks. “Everyone has seen him rehab, everyone has seen him in the meetings, everyone has seen him work hard. But to see him get back on the field, it was a good sight to see.”

_After Jake Browning led the first offense in Sunday’s practice, offensive coordinator Brian Callahan called the backup quarterback derby, “up in the air,” and said it would play out through Saturday’s preseason finale (6:05 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Local 12) in Washington.

Browning and Trevor Siemian, Callahan said, are going to continue to split halves in the game and snaps in practice, and who the starters play with has no bearing on the call.

“Both have had positive moments, both have had moments they’d like back,” Callahan said. “We’ll let them compete the rest of the week.”

Callahan said the club wouldn’t rule out bringing in another quarterback after the roster cut to 53 in nine days. But he said that is standard operating procedure.

“We do due diligence at any position after training camp,” Callahan said. “That’s always an option on the table no matter the position, trying to make the team better.”

_Callahan sounded upbeat about No. 1 quarterback Joe Burrow as he rehabs a strained calf. Callahan indicated he thinks Burrow will have an easier time getting back into it than he did recovering from last year’s weight-sapping appendectomy to prep for the opener.

“He’s still able to throw to some degree. I don’t think that part is going to be all that difficult for him,” Callahan said. “It will take a couple of days just getting back into rhythm with the receivers but these guys have played so much football together that doesn’t concern me so much. He’s not trying to put weight on or anything like he was last year or anything like that, he’s in good shape. I don’t think it will take very long.

“Everything to my eye seems like he’s progressing the way he’s supposed to.”

_When Awuzie went into the 7-on-7 drill with the starters, he was replacing rookie cornerback DJ Ivey. That was because the guy who had taken Awuzie’s place the two previous preseason games, rookie DJ Turner, came up sore in individual drills. Nothing major at all, it is believed, but simply a precaution.

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