The Bengals are down to two quarterbacks in 2023: one is healthy, and one has a nagging calf issue.
On Thursday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Patriots poached quarterback Will Grier on the Bengals' practice squad. Grier was never going to amount to more than a QB3 for the Bengals, who currently have Joe Burrow as their QB1 and Jake Browning as their QB2.
With Grier gone, the Bengals are down to just Burrow and Browning with no contingency plan behind them.
Burrow is currently considered day-to-day after Week 2's loss to the Ravens in which he re-injured the calf he strained in training camp. The 2020 first-rounder didn't practice in any capacity on Thursday, and his status for Monday night's game against the Rams remains up in the air.
Bengals' 2023 quarterback room only includes Joe Burrow and Jake Browning
Schefter's wording is slightly misleading in the tweet above: the Bengals do have a QB2 listed on the roster, Jake Browning. The bigger concern is that if Burrow is ruled out and Browning gets the start on Monday, there will be no quarterback to back him up should he get injured during the game.
The 27-year-old Browning joined the Bengals' practice squad back in 2021 and has never played a snap in the NFL. Browning previously played at the University of Washington and spent time on the Vikings' practice squad for his first two years in the league.
Browning beat veteran Trevor Siemian for the QB2 job this offseason and seemed prepared to step up should his number be called.
Browning said earlier this year, "It's kind of my job to be ready if Joe goes down."
Joe Burrow's practice statuses for the rest of the week should provide more clarity on whether he plays in Week 3. In all likelihood, Burrow will be a game-time decision on Monday.