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Personal Observations from Day 1 of Training Camp

Recapping what went on during Bengals camp on Thursday.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

I'm sure I could have gathered more by note-taking, but I'm going to training camp primarily to enjoy watching. All of this is from memory (looking at the Bengals roster list and thinking about what I saw from each player). Due to work obligations, I won't be able to go to training camp regularly. I'll be sure to go on the Oklahoma Drill day though, assuming it's on a weekend.

In general, I tried to get as best a look I could at all the position groups. I got better looks at some compared to others, though, in part because of the large crowd and also in part due to where the players were practicing. For example, the O-line spent much of the practice right in front of a standing-room-only crowd. Meanwhile, the D-line spent much of the practice on the other side of the field, close to Paul Brown Stadium itself, where it's probable that only those with binoculars could get any semblance of what was going on.

Obviously, the biggest thing is the ridiculous anti-Dalton banners. One man near me was discussing Dalton possibly receiving a Kaepernick-like deal and how "that's too much money." Another woman near me talked about how Dalton is "folding under pressure" and that A.J. McCarron should be our starter right now. I've made it no secret that I want Dalton extended, only at what I feel is an appropriate price, yet I'd be ecstatic with a Kaepernick deal. I put #FarrAndy ("Fire Andy" in a hillbilly accent- no offense) as the photo caption here because it kind of reminds me of the ridiculous "#FarrDusty" Twitter campaign people had during the 2012 Reds season, wanting to dump Dusty Baker in the middle of the season even though he helped the Reds to a division title. We may see the same thing for Andy in the middle of this upcoming season.

Present at training camp were the Bengals Batman and Captain America (who, unlike Batman, was not Bengals-themed).

Sitting literally right behind me was Carlos Dunlap's mom and aunt. They're both very nice people. And if you didn't know who they were, you'd think that A.J. Green was also kin to them (i.e. they were rooting for him every bit as loud as Carlos). They were both high school studs in South Carolina. Green looked dominant as always.

Ken Broo from WCPO and 700 WLW, who is always a great listen, was roaming the sidelines and waving to fans who recognized him.

An official Winnipeg Blue Bombers scout from the CFL was present for all of the practice, jotting notes down. Anyone roaming the edge of the practice field near where the makeshift Bengals Pro Shop was located would have noticed him there.

Ryan Whalen was out the whole practice, giving Cobi Hamilton and James Wright plenty of opportunities. Hamilton looked good on a few intermediate routes. Let me tell you, James Wright is no pure special teamer. With Sanu and Sanzenbacher only in the slot, and Hamilton in the "X" split-end WR position, Wright was the second-string "Z" flanker WR, i.e. A.J. Green's backup.

A few times, it was even Dalton (i.e. the first-string QB) throwing to Wright, not Campbell. Other than the Dalton brouhaha, this may have been the biggest takeaway from camp today, that Wright is A.J. Green's backup. We shall see whether that was just for today or if it will continue. They had Wright doing plenty of intermediate and deep routes, matched up on Pacman Jones a few times. He looks to be an impressive combination of route-running, size, and especially speed, all in combination with his good special teams ability.

I take back the comments I had last May about James Wright being a reach even in the seventh round. I think Wright's lack of production may have just been a matter of him being stuck behind Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry in an LSU offense that rarely used more than two WR in any formation (their #3 receiving option was Jeremy Hill). At this point, I'm thinking Wright has a very good shot at the roster. All aboard the James Wright bandwagon!

There was this new unknown guy who jogged onto the field in a white #16 jersey. He made some impressive plays, including one deep ball from Matt Scott for a TD. He wasn't eye-poppingly good or anything, but he sure looked better than the likes of Brandon Tate, Jasper Collins, and Colin Lockett at WR. One guy near me even said "Hey, is Andrew Hawkins back?" He knew Hawkins left for Cleveland but there was this new #16 making Hawkins-like plays. The new #16 is Jeremy Johnson.

Dalton looked really good. Frankly, I thought Matt Scott had a poor day, other than that deep-ball TD to Jeremy Johnson. Scott was very wild with his accuracy. Frankly, I thought Jason Campbell had a mediocre day too. He had at least one incompletion on an easy dump-off, and also fumbled a snap. McCarron wasn't practicing.

Bodine was our first-string center. With Pollak out, Trevor Robinson was our second-string center. Also, our second-string LT was a mix of Tanner Hawkinson and Marshall Newhouse, and our second-string RT was Will Svitek. I couldn't see the guards, though. With Gresham out, Eifert became our first-string TE. And Ryan Hewitt was our second-string TE, ahead of Kevin Brock. Orson Charles was our first-string FB. However, they also had him running short and intermediate routes along with the TE's, same with Ryan Hewitt. Looks like both of them are in that H-back role. Meanwhile, Nikita Whitlock did blocking-only. However, he did practice on special teams like the other guys, which improves his chances. Remember John Conner beat out Orson Charles in the blocking game last year but didn't make the roster because he couldn't contribute on special teams.

One play that drew ooh's and aah's from the crowd was an impressive diving pass-breakup by James Davidson, matched up against a TE.

He'll probably be fine, but Dane Sanzenbacher dropped a very easy pass during 11-on-11's (drawing ooh's from the crowd) on a day when Wright and Hamilton looked good.

Emmanuel Lamur is totally healthy and fully practicing, as is Taylor Mays. I thought they both looked good as usual, which doesn't bode well for Marquis Flowers' roster chances. Clint Boling practiced with the first-team offense, but his right knee is heavily wrapped. Andrew Whitworth didn't practice and spent time waving to the crowd.

Poor T.J. Conley. He didn't get any reps at punter and just did friendly chatting with his fellow specialists, then he got cut right after practice.

Our backup long-snapper is Tanner Hawkinson. A big man wearing #72 was deep-snapping to Kevin Huber, after Clark Harris got some initial reps. The first one went way over Huber's head and drawing ooh's from the crowd, but after that Hawkinson was fine.

There's a list of players who looked "solid" to me, but it's hard to draw much from that in just one practice. That includes Darqueze Dennard, Jeremy Hill (both on regular play and special teams play for those two), Rex Burkhead, Shawn Williams, Lavelle Westbrooks, Sean Porter (as a coverage LB), and Mohamed Sanu (a couple nice receptions in traffic). Marvin Jones wasn't practicing, at least I don't think he was. I thought Dontay Moch looked good, beating Andre Smith as well as a couple of the UDFA offensive tackles. He's finally healthy now, and has the athleticism and speed to be a potentially good pass-rusher, but are we willing to make roster space for him?

LaKendrick Ross is gargantuan. Russell Bodine went up on him one-on-one in a blocking drill (Bodine won) but Ross looked almost twice as big as Bodine. Hyperbole, obviously, but you get my point.

Best play of the day: an off-target throw by Dalton (he was great otherwise, though) that Gio Bernard was somehow able to corral by juggling the ball for a little bit and scampering into the endzone, all while blanketed by a defender, drawing applause.