Bengals tell Andy Dalton to cut down on the tackles in 2016

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton joked Thursday that he probably wouldn’t be making many tackles this year.

If it’s up to the team, he won’t be making any at all. Dalton broke his thumb last season trying to make a tackle after throwing an interception in the first quarter of a game against the Steelers on Dec. 18. The Bengals went 2-2 without him, but weren’t able to make it out of the first round of the playoffs.

“Oh yeah. We’ve made that clear here,” Bengals cornerback Adam Jones said on Pro Football Talk Live Thursday morning. “Whatever happens, he needs to run his ass back to the sidelines.”

In the ESPN story, Norman said of Thomas: “I don’t know what he was out there for. He was supposed to be an all-world guy and I shut him down.”

Bell will inevitably have the shortest leash. Get him a few carries, then see you in Week 4. Bell can’t return to practices until Sept. 26 after serving a three-game suspension for missed drug tests.

The 22-year-old superstar is gearing up for another teaser on Saturday, when the Rams travel to Denver to play the reigning-champion Broncos at 6 p.m. PT. Gurley is expected to play. But while the rest of the starters go deep into the second quarter in the third preseason game, Rams coach Jeff Fisher will probably restrict Gurley to only one drive, just like he did last week.

“It’s whatever,” Gurley said. “Whatever Coach Jeff gives me, I’ll be happy with it. Obviously I want to be out there with my boys, running the ball, protecting, whatever it is. Just a couple more weeks until the real games.”

And with Gurley, that’s all the Rams are even thinking about. During Tuesday’s airing of “Hard Knocks,” Fisher was seen telling his defensive coaches that Gurley should be treated “like a freaking quarterback” and need not be tackled. On Wednesday, Fisher watched Gurley end up near the bottom of a pile during a scuffle with his own teammates and said, “We all need to be smarter than that.”

The Rams are being uber-cautious with Gurley, because he will carry a heavy load in the offense and because he showed last year that he doesn’t necessarily need to play in preseason games. Many have wondered if Gurley should simply not play at all until the regular season, which is probably something Fisher has thought about himself.