Bengals trying to make Super Bowl week as ‘normal’ as possible

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow said he looks forward to getting back into a normal game-week routine, but it’s a little more difficult now that the team is in Los Angeles.

The Bengals held their first walkthrough at UCLA on Wednesday morning, and Burrow and others sat through virtual press conferences before the team’s afternoon practice. Media obligations aren’t unusual, but they’re more intense with national attention on the Super Bowl, and there are extra events leading up to Sunday’s game against the L.A. Rams.

“It’s a little different now that we’re out here,” Burrow said. “Now it’s a little tougher to eliminate all the distractions, but I think your guys are doing a pretty good job that. We haven’t had any practice yet, so I’m excited to get out to practice today. I think once we get into the practice schedule of a normal game week, I think it’ll be easier.”

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Cincinnati’s coaching staff tried to keep the schedule this week as close to what it would have been back home, so the team flew out to L.A. on the normal off day Tuesday.

“We tried to keep our scheduling as consistent as possible,” Taylor said. “We’re midway through our first day here, and the guys have handled it really well.”

Center Trey Hopkins said the extra week after the AFC Championship was helpful for physical recovery, especially for a guy like him. Hopkins crossed the one-year mark from his ACL surgery last month.

“The excitement of being in the Super Bowl knocks all that physical kind of wear and tear off,” Hopkins said with a laugh. “We’ve been fortunate that we had this last week to kind of get our bodies back, but over the season, I would say beginning of the season it was a little rough and as the season’s progressed, it wears on a lot of guys. And to be honest, a lot of parts of my body other than my knee have felt worse than my knee has. As I’ve gotten like over the year mark from the surgery I’ve definitely seen an improvement in how it feels for sure.”

Injury updates

Taylor said tight end C.J. Uzomah was not expected to practice Wednesday, but he likely would get in some work Thursday as he is trying to bounce back from an MCL sprain that sidelined him in the first half of the AFC Championship.

Uzomah has said he plans to play, but he remains “day-to-day.” Taylor said he is “optimistic about the progress he’s made.”

Right guard Jackson Carman missed two practices last week because of a back injury but also is “progressing well,” according to Taylor. Carman and Hakeem Adeniji rotated at right guard in the AFC Championship, and the Bengals have not committed to how they plan to handle that position Sunday.

Adeniji was introduced with the other starters at the pep rally Monday.

“He and Hakeem have really kind of gone back and forth,” Taylor said. “I think at the guard spot they both give us some really good things. They are young players, and their best days are ahead of them. We think both those guys have been progressing as we’d hoped, and so we’ll continue to let it play out and see how it shakes out on Sunday.”

Carson Palmer offers praise

Former Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, whose trade demand after the 2010 season created some ill will with the organization, went on the Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday and had positive things to say about the team making it to the Super Bowl.

Palmer had felt the organization wasn’t trying to win during his time in Cincinnati.

“I had issues with the organization, but I love Cincinnati,” Palmer said on the show. “It would be so amazing for the Bengals fanbase to get a Super Bowl.”

Awuzie glad things worked out

Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie said Wednesday that he had received other offers in free agency, including one for more money, after he already had said he would be signing with the Bengals, and he is glad he stuck by his commitment.

“I was real proud of and happy how they were talking to me and how they talked about the locker room and everything like that, so once a man gives his word, you’ve got to stick by it,” Awuzie said. “I knew God will guide me from there and look where we are now. So it may look like I’m a genius that I knew this was gonna happen. I did not, but I did know that we had pieces and the locker room. And that’s sometimes the most important thing.”

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