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Bengals OTA Practice: Recapping Day One

The Bengals conducted their first OTA practice of the season. We review and recap the session.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
  • The Bengals conducted their first practice of OTAs on Tuesday.
  • George Iloka and Marvin Jones unexpectedly missed the session. Jones joined Vontaze Burfict, Rey Maualuga and Sean Porter on the side for rehab work. Cedric Ogbuehi and Andre Smith did some work on the side as well.
  • Eric Winston played with the first-team offense at right tackle. Shawn Williams worked at safety for the injured Iloka. Jones and Iloka are expected be working soon, and possibly as early as tomorrow.
  • Tyler Eifert practiced with the team during seven-on-seven drills (but not 11-on-11).

George Iloka is dealing with an injury

Cincinnati Bengals safety Shawn Williams was shifted to the first-team defense when starting safety George Iloka was noticeably absent during Tuesday's session. However Iloka's lack of attendance wasn't some Nancy Drew mystery. Iloka is in Cincinnati and he's dealing with a slight injury that's "not major."

Either way, initial reports went from "fill in the blanks" to "he's here, but not working due to an injury." Our initial conjecture was contractual-related issues -- but that's what happens when you're given a piece of information that leads to mindless subjugation.

"When I'm out there, I'm out there," Iloka said via ESPN. "It's nothing serious."

Marvin Jones worked on the sidelines.

Wide receiver Marvin Jones spent the offseason showing videos of his process, only to be relegated to the sidelines with the other injured players; like the kiddie table during Thanksgiving. According to reports, Jones "tweaked" a hamstring last week but the injury isn't viewed as serious.

What is serious is the growing perspective that Jones has questionable durability issues. During his rookie season (2012), Jones missed three games with a knee injury. He then followed that up with his breakout season in 2013, but was sidelined for the entire season last year with foot and ankle issues.

Jones, who called his sideline workout "procedural", told reporters that he'll practice on Wednesday. He needs to finish his physical...

OK, then.

"I'm good, I just have to clear the physical," Jones said.

"Obviously I've been training hard and doing other stuff, but putting back-to-back-to-back-to-back days of running around and doing stuff like that, I have to adjust," Jones said, referencing his tweaked hamstring.

NOTE on George Iloka and Marvin Jones: The absence of both players isn't expected to be a long-term issue.

Vontaze Burfict is working on the side

It was good seeing Burfict on Tuesday, working out and continuing his rehabilitation on the sideline with the other injured players. It's been a foregone conclusion that his workouts would be exactly that... rehabilitation. This is the plan. Nothing has, nor will, change until July (if not September).

"Vontaze will be in rehab all the way through the summer," Lewis told reporters on Tuesday. "So, he's go a long ways to go. He had surgery in January. That's a surgery that takes a bit. He's trying a bit to beat the odds and do it quicker but he's got a lot of work to do. It's part of the injury."

(You can read more about this story here)

Tyler Eifert is cleared for work and practiced

It was somewhat surprising that Eifert worked with the team on Tuesday during seven-on-seven drills, taking a few receptions from quarterback Andy Dalton. The latest report regarding Eifert offered by the Bengals beat (roughly a few weeks ago) said he wasn't cleared for work. According to the mothership, Eifert didn't participate during 11-on-11 drills but progress is progress and we're happy about that.

The punt return competition

This could be a significant battle heading into summer. Brandon Tate and Adam Jones are your incumbents. Running back Giovani Bernard and seventh-round rookie Mario Alford joined Tate and Jones on Tuesday. Jason had the best reaction to Bernard returning punts.

But, let's also not get ahead of ourselves.

Bernard returned punts during OTA sessions in 2014, joined by Tate, Adam Jones and running back Jeff Scott. Bernard returning punts is awesome, no doubt... but it's also bullsh*t in the grand scheme.

Keep your eye on Tate, Jones and Alford.

The BS that OTAs are "voluntary"

It's import to remember that these sessions are voluntary. It's also important to remember that when you're Margus Hunt, you're opening the door for Will Clarke to get more reps and eventually replace you on the depth chart if you don't show up.

Hunt shouldn't be viewed as a roster lock and if Clarke leaps over him on the depth chart, Hunt might be gone before his four-year contract even expires. Hunt "was seen at Paul Brown Stadium not long after practice began." At this point, you rub the bridge of your nose and say, "whatever."


+ With Andre Smith out recovering from his 2014 biceps injury, veteran offensive tackle Eric Winston worked with the first-team at right tackle. Winston started the final two regular season games (Broncos and Steelers), as well as the wild card game against the Colts.

+ Speaking of Smith, he spent most of the session working on the side with trainers. Smith is coming off a torn tricep injury.

+ Smith was joined by first-round rookie Cedric Ogbuehi.

+ Rookie Jake Fisher worked with the second-team group -- specifically at left tackle. According to, he'll work another position on Wednesday.

+ A.J. Hawk (one of the few free agents who the Bengals signed during the offseason) worked at both outside linebacker spots on Tuesday.

+ Vincent Rey worked as the starting middle linebacker (Rey Maualuga worked on the side with an injury). Maualuga said that he'll be on-the-field come Wednesday.

+ Defensive coordinator Paul Guenter rotated Leon Hall, Dre Kirkpatrick, Adam Jones and Darqueze Dennard with the starters. All four players are vying for three jobs -- projecting nickel as a starting position in the secondary.

+ Quarterbacks AJ McCarron and Terrelle Pryor "performed well", according to Richard Skinner with Local 12.

+ Running back James Wilder Jr. enjoyed work at running back and fullback (as expected).