Defensive tackle D.J. Reader‘s first season with the Bengals didn’t go as hoped as he tore his quad in Week 5 and missed the rest of the year.
Reader has spent a lot of time rehabbing in the wake of that injury and he avoided the physically unable to perform list to open training camp, which leaves him on track to be in the lineup for Week 1. He’d also like to be in the lineup for this Saturday’s preseason opener against the Buccaneers because he sees it as a significant step to feeling sure of his recovery.
“I think it’s super important for me to get those live game reps,” Reader said, via Laurel Pfahler of the Dayton Daily News. “Just getting more confidence in my leg, I think I feel pretty good not really favoring it. I don’t think about it when I’m playing, kind of bothers me more when I’m standing still than when I’m actually out there playing. Things going on, that’s really it. Those are important reps and everybody saw at the beginning of the season last year just how sloppy the players were across the league.”
Larry Ogunjobi is on the PUP list, so the Bengals are unlikely to have a full house on the defensive line this weekend, but having Reader would be a good step toward where they want to be for the regular season opener.