Marvin Jones replaced the injured A.J. Green, who will be out through the weekend (at the very least), with a knee bruise. That put Jones and fellow second-year receiver on the first-team offense at wide receiver.
The transition was smooth, flawless, and Cincinnati's offense is well ahead of where they were during the team's offseason training program, notably the team's mandatory minicamp in June.
Jones and Andy Dalton have developed more of a rapport, especially on deep balls. Jones and Sanu could both be considered to be the second receiver, which Jones agreed with based on how other teams use a heavy rotation at receiver.
"We've got some good guys on this team and on this receiving squad that bring different attributes and that can help our team in many ways," Jones said. "If that's the case, then we're all for it. We just want to get out there and do our best and win games for our teams."
Jones had a particularly productive day on Friday, and it showed with Geoff Hobson observing "that super soph hopefuls Jones and Mohamed Sanu stepped in at wide receiver to cap a very encouraging two days for an offense that is suddenly as crisp as it was sloppy during the spring."
However, it's not just Jones and Sanu. Andy Dalton is firing rockets that's led to a 70 percent completion percentage during the first two days of training camp. Rookie Tyler Eifert is catching everything that's being thrown in his direction. Veteran Andrew Hawkins is taking advantage of younger defensive backs when they're faced with confusing formations, writes Hobson.
Speedy slot receiver Andrew Hawkins takes advantage of a miscommunication between young cornerbacks Troy Stoudermire and Shaun Prater and scores a TD on the deadly angle route. A bunch formation freezes the backup defense, but when rookie linebacker Jayson DiManche ties up tight end Alex Smith, Sanu and Hawkins don't panic and don't run into each other. Sanu runs a crossing route, where both Stoudermire and Prater jump him, and Dalton easily finds Hawkins down the middle.
On another route by Hawkins, Reedy observes:
A nice day for Andrew Hawkins. He sprung himself wide open off the line and blew past safety Tony Dye for a touchdown as well as splitting two defenders for a pass Dalton shoved into his small space for a catch-and-run over the middle.
Even H-back Orson Charles is getting into the act, turning in productive practices according to the Bengals play-by-play voice Dan Hoard.
Still, Marvin Jones is excited.
"We're confident we're going to be on the same page," Jones said. "We have a lot of tools. We have exciting tools, especially bringing in Eifert and Gio (Bernard). We added different dynamics to the team. I think me and Mo, we're comfortable in the system, we know what's expected of us, we've had a lot of snaps with Andy, so the expectation is we're supposed to be elite in terms of connection. But you add people like Gio and Eifert, and it just changes the game."