Cornerback Maurice Canady entered training camp overlooked as a major contributor in what was considered potentially the deepest secondary in the league.
Despite being a prominent fixture on special teams and having experience on defense, Canady was released in August during roster cuts and signed to the practice squad. Canady was promoted to the 53-man roster and active for Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Once an afterthought to see time on defense, Canady’s presence has been a welcome addition to a unit dealing with multiple injuries.
In Sunday’s overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Canady played 92% of the defensive snaps, the highest snap count of his career, registering a team-high seven tackles.
“Maurice really stepped up,” coach John Harbaugh said Monday. "He played well. He covered man, covered zone, made plays on the ball, made tackles. I thought he played very well. It’s nice to see a guy step up when the opportunity comes, and he did it.”
With slot cornerback Tavon Young out for the year because of a neck injury and Jimmy Smith sidelined with a knee sprain, Canady has filled in admirably next to Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Carr for a team that views its top three cornerbacks as starters.
Canady recorded an interception and two pass breakups in Week 4 against the Cleveland Browns before his most substantial playing time Sunday against the Steelers.
“Whew, thank God he’s here,” defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale said. “And the same thing with [Anthony Averett]. They both keep working and they’ve done some things. Obviously [Canady] did a lot of good things, the last two games, really. We have to just keep working.”
DeShon Elliott, ‘The Joker,’ grades ‘Joker’
Second-year safety DeShon Elliot, who along with third-year player Chuck Clark is preparing to replace injured veteran Tony Jefferson, earned the nickname “The Joker” during his time at Texas for being a jack-of-all-trades player in the secondary.
As a junior in 2017, he recorded a team-high six interceptions, 63 tackles and three forced fumbles.
“I was in college and we had a new head coach and my position coach, he kind of started it, and I just kind of took it off after that first game against Maryland,” said Elliott, with a Joker figurine sitting in his locker.
“[Against] USC, I scored a touchdown and then that’s when it really blew up. And after that, it’s a wrap.”
As expected of someone with the moniker, Elliott made the trip to see “Joker” as the film, starring Joaquin Phoenix, premiered last Friday.
“I’ve seen it like twice already,” Elliott said. “It’s a real good movie. It’s more realistic with the persona they tried to bring into it. With comics, there are multiple different Jokers, but [the film] was more of a real-life Joker.”
Brown, Onwuasor miss practice again with ankle injuries
For the second straight day, rookie wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor did not participate in practice because of ankle injuries.
Cornerback Jimmy Smith (knee) and defensive tackle (non-injury related) also missed practice Thursday.
Tight end Mark Andrews (shoulder) and Canady (thigh) were limited in practice after not participating on Wednesday.
Bengals star wide receiver A.J. Green practiced for the first time since tearing ligaments in his ankle during training camp. Green, who coach Zac Taylor said will not play on Sunday, was limited.
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Bengals offensive tackles Cordy Glenn (concussion) and Andre Smith (ankle), safety Shawn Williams and defensive linemen Ryan Glasgow (thigh) and Kerry Wynn (concussion) did not practice.