PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 30: Cameron Heyward #97 of the Pittsburgh Steelers sacks Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals in the third quarter on September 30, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Photo: Justin K. Aller
Photo: Justin K. Aller

Bengals coach Zac Taylor on beleaguered offensive line: ‘We still believe in the guys we have’

Glenn has been in concussion protocol since the preseason but returned to practice last week, participating in limited fashion twice before getting shut down Saturday. He hasn’t been seen since then and Taylor immediately said, “No,” when asked if he would be available Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals (0-3-1), then quickly went on to the next question.

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That means the Bengals (0-4) still have no relief coming anytime soon as they try to turn things around with a struggling offensive line, and they’ll have to find answers with the group they’ve currently got. Taylor doesn’t expect any changes to the starting five this week, despite blown protection leading to eight sacks and 12 overall pressures on quarterback Andy Dalton during Monday’s 27-3 loss at Pittsburgh.

“We still believe in the guys we have, and we do feel like we have some depth behind them,” Taylor said Wednesday. “Every week we evaluate our best five that we put out there. There are some guys that can always step up. Through the first three games, there were some moments where those guys were really challenged, and they stepped up and really did a good job.

“This is the first time where it felt like, ‘All right, they beat us up up front a little bit.’ It was for a variety of reasons. We can take the pressure off of them with the play calls and the things that we were doing. That was a one-off from what we’ll see. That’s not going to be the norm. That was a physical front. As the game went on, they wore us down a little bit, but I still feel confident in the guys that we have out there and that they’re going to do a good job.”

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Last week, Taylor said Glenn was making steps in the right direction, but the staff has constantly been having to wait for the next update from the medical staff each day. It’s clear Glenn has taken a step backward, but no one wants to talk about it.

“I coach the players that are in my room,” offensive line coach Jim Turner said. “When he is ready, I’ll know because he’ll be sitting in my room standing there waiting to go. Until then, I’m coaching the guys that are in my room.”

In the meantime, veteran Andre Smith will continue playing left tackle, although John Jerry relieved him late in the game Monday. Smith, the Bengals’ first-round draft pick in 2009, has been a right tackle for almost the entirety of his 10 previous years in the NFL and re-signed with the Bengals in July after first-rounder Jonah Williams suffered a shoulder injury at the end of the offseason training program.

Smith came in as a backup and knew he could get time at left tackle if something happened but wasn’t expecting to play there so soon, he said. He believes as he and rookie left guard Mike Jordan get more comfortable playing next to one another, they will both step up their games.

“Me and Mike are building that camaraderie and rapport, and I think it’s going to translate to the game the hard work we’ve been doing,” Smith said.

Jordan returned from a knee injury Monday after sitting out one game, and Billy Price was back to the bench. Price relieved him late in the game, but Taylor said Jordan is still the starter. Jordan said confidence is a big key to improvement for himself and the other linemen.

“I feel like I need to trust my body more, know that it’s healed and play my game,” Jordan said. “I’m always looking to improve my game. I feel like I’m doing OK and I need do better. I need to stay lower in the pass game and finish blocks.

“Everyone has confidence but you’ve got to trust the guy next to you, so you can’t worry about anyone else’s job but your own. You take care of your own job and I feel like we’ll all do a lot better.”

Smith said the offensive line isn’t letting Monday’s letdown impact them in preparations this week. The Cardinals bring another strong front seven, led by veteran linebackers Terrell Suggs and Chandler Jones, who have been solid coming off the edge in the pass rush.

“It happened,” Smith said. “You look and evaluate, you come back and just work harder the next week and try to keep it from happening again. That’s all you can do. You can’t harp on it because you’ll be worrying about it coming into this game. You’ve just got to clear your mind and play fast.

“They (the Cardinals) have a good front seven, they fly around, make plays and it’s going to be interesting this week. I think we’re going to have a good gameplan coming into the game and we just have to execute.”

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