Good news: The Bengals are all assembling in Cincinnati to begin organized team activities in their quest for a fifth straight berth in the postseason.
Bad news: Several key starters are still banged up, and it doesn't appear they're close to being ready to practice on the field, as Geoff Hobson writes:
Also back in town is Pro Bowl WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict as he rehabs from microfracture knee surgery.
Burfict and some players such as tight end Tyler Eifert and right tackle Andre Smith will be rehabbing and aren’t expected to take the field when the practices start in late May.
Smith undergoing dramatic physical change
Offensive tackle Andre Smith, who is entering a contract year in 2015, is gaining a reputation for legendary workouts which are noticeably changing his body shape.
It is good to see Burfict is back in town after he was essentially secluded while recovering from microfracture surgery. It sounds like he's at least able to move around and travel to be with his teammates.
It's unfortunate that Eifert and Smith aren't ready to practice after having five+ months to recover from their respective injuries. Hopefully, this is just the Bengals being cautious with them, and they're right on schedule in their rehab.
After posting 39 receptions for 445 yards receiving and two touchdowns during his rookie season, Eifert missed all but one game last season. During the regular season opener in Baltimore, Eifert posted three receptions (two leading to first downs) for 37 yards receiving.
As for Smith, he played in just nine games last year after a torn triceps suffered against the Texans cost him the final two months of the season. He's expected to return to his full-time right tackle spot this year before becoming a free agent in 2016.