Jul 28, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) dives for a pass in front of defensive back Leon Hall (29) during training camp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
The competition at cornerback for the Bengals this season has a mix of household names and others that the casual NFL fan might not be familiar with. There's the notorious Adam Jones, the out to prove himself Terence Newman, as well as the tough veterans in Nate Clements and Jason Allen. The team also aded a high-profile rookie first round pick at the position in Dre Kirkpatrick. The problem? All of these players were out of practice, nursing injuries at Training Camp on Sunday.
The forgotten man in this competition was former 2010 third round pick, Brandon Ghee. He has fought through a myriad of injuries and is now fighting for a roster spot this season, which will be an uphill climb. But now, with the plethora of injuries to the group, Ghee is out to prove himself. And, according to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com and Joe Reedy with The Cincinnati Enquirer, Ghee is giving a strong showing during the early portions of camp.
When it comes to players on the Bengals roster who have made the most improvement from last year to this season, Armon Binns name has been frequently brought up. But if you were going to pick out a player on defense, it would be cornerback Brandon Ghee.
After having a great offseason program, Ghee has continued to make a case to keep his spot on the 53-man roster during the first three days of training camp. With six corners sitting out Sunday’s practice, Ghee started with the first team and had an interception.
Even though he's injured, the team's top cornerback is still Leon Hall and he's taken note of how Ghee has looked as well (via Hobson):
It was such a good spring that the team's best corner,
Leon Hall, said Ghee had been the best corner in May and June even though he's played all of 13 snaps from scrimmage (according to profootballfocus.com) in his two NFL seasons and just two last year after he got cut in training camp.
Hall wasn't the only player noting Ghee's performance either. If you remember, Green sung Ghee's praises earlier in the month, calling him "one of the best corners that we have here". It's possible that these comments from Green and Hall are probably a bit more rosy-colored than what the reality of his performances may be, but there is still a pattern here to be noted. Both media members and teammates are talking about how well he has done so far.
It appears that he has refocused himself after having so many down moments in his pro career. He seems to realize that this just might be his last chance with the club and is intent on making the club, getting a starting position and making an impact.
"I think the day I got cut was the day that changed my life to be honest with you," Ghee said. "I have learned how to compete (at the pro level). Over the past two years I was inconsistent. I would compete one day and not compete the next. I have to go hard every play. A lot of rookies especially DBs go through that maturity process and now I’m doing well."
The position group is crowded, but the competition is wide open. Ghee is embracing the challenge, but his biggest obstacle might not be in the area of talent--it's the challenge of staying healthy.