CINCINNATI -- The battle to be the Cincinnati Bengals' backup quarterback is still undecided heading into the preseason finale. Coach Zac Taylor said Thursday that the competition between Jake Browning and Trevor Siemian is ongoing as Cincinnati continues to evaluate its options behind Joe Burrow, who remains out with a strained right calf.
Taylor called it a “tight race” as the team wrapped up its last official practice of training camp.
“Those guys have both really worked on the things we’ve asked them to improve on. I do see them getting better every single day that passes,” Taylor said. “There’s more comfort in working with that group and making the checks and doing the things effectively that we want them to do.”
Burrow has not practiced since July 27, when he suffered the calf injury. He did not make the trip to Atlanta for last week’s preseason game as he continued his rehab process in Cincinnati, a team source told ESPN.
Taylor declined to say if Burrow will travel for Saturday’s game at the Washington Commanders.
“There's a lot of guys we will leave behind,” Taylor said.
Cincinnati’s fifth-year coach also didn’t specify if Browning or Siemian will start against the Commanders. Reserve Reid Sinnett, who was signed after Burrow was injured, is expected to see some playing time in the second half.
Browning and Siemian have not had many highlights throughout the preseason games. Neither has thrown for a touchdown. Browning has completed 66.7% of his passes for 235 yards and two interceptions, while Siemian has a 52.4 completion percentage and one pick. Browning, however, orchestrated the lone offensive touchdown drive of the preseason. He led the team down the field at the end of last week’s game against the Falcons. Rookie running back Chase Brown scored on a 3-yard run in the final minute. The game ended in a 13-13 tie.
Taylor has not ruled out the possibility of adding another quarterback before the start of the season but said incorporating a new addition at this stage is not simple.
“I think anything’s feasible,” Taylor said. “But at the same time, there are a lot of nuances to our offense when you’re asking that guy to learn that quickly and be able to operate it in a game, it’s a challenge.”
Taylor has not issued a timetable for Burrow to return to practice but joked that the starter needs only “one rep” to be ready for the Week 1 game Sept. 10 against the Cleveland Browns.
“He looks great,” Taylor said Monday. “Physically just walking around he looks probably as good as he’s ever looked at this point. That’s a positive and we will just go from there.”