It's good to be back. This was my third consecutive year attempting to observe and report Training Camp for the Cincinnati Bengals. Thanks to a lot of contributors both on this site and at practices, many readers of Cincy Jungle are well informed this offseason. Today was no exception of course.
Before I mention a few notes from Saturday's practice, I want to address something that has been weighing on my mind in July: It's unfortunate that the Bengals organization quietly discontinued their Pep Rally, which I spoke highly of on this site last season. Perhaps the organization didn't see much of a return for that even, or perhaps it was a flashy one-time gesture as the Hard Knocks cameras focused on the team in 2013. Regardless, I loved attending it and reporting it, and it's a shame that fans are unable to experience it for the 2014 season.
But I digress.
What you're here for is Training Camp coverage. A lot of this is already being reported, but it's what I witnessed first hand so I might as well share it. Here are a few observations from Saturday's practice:
- Russell Bodine was playing center with first team - a lot.
- Darqueze Dennard is playing at the level many fans hoped he would, but I was saying the same thing about Tyler Eifert this time last year. Of course the two play different positions. Regardless, like Eifert in July of 2013, Dennard makes the wait for the regular season more unbearable.
- Adam Jones was everywhere. He disrupted several of Dalton's pass attempts, and clearly energized the defense on Saturday.
- Expect to see a lot of Giovani Bernard if you're going to attend a practice. He's playing as well as expected and the offense seems to put an emphasis on getting him in open space, which we all know he thrives in.
- I loved watching Hue Jackson overseeing the offense. When positional drills were going on, it seemed as if Jackson was in three places at once. He was very hands on with every piece of his offense.
- My camp favorites from 2013 continued to play well despite limited regular season work: Rex Burkhead and Dane Sanzenbacher.
- In case you hadn't heard, Dre Kirkpatrick seemed to be dealing with a hamstring injury. I last saw him stretching on the sidelines.
- There's a photo of this in the gallery, but the story was: While watching practice, I heard a rhythmic series of thuds off in the distance. I followed the sound behind the bleachers. In the corner of an empty field, Andrew Whitworth was hammering at a tractor tire. It was magnificent. It was the type of image that NFL Films could have beautifully captured to excite Bengals fans for 2014.
I hope all of you get a chance to witness Training Camp this offseason. For those that will miss out, we'll continue to deliver you updates daily.