Although it was a hot, humid day in downtown Cincinnati on Day 3 of training camp, it didn't seem to matter much to Bengals players at camp. They approached the day with a 'work hard' mentality, expressed by their 'work hard' chant to kick off the day’s drills and workouts. Coming off an eventful Day 2, it was good to see the players get through the day without many mishaps.
In fairness, the players put together some great work on Day 2 as well. Unfortunately, the day was highlighted primarily by a scuffle that took place between Geno Atkins and Clint Boling, as well as a pair of minor injuries that saw Tyler Boyd and Cody Core carted off the field. However, everything seemed back to normal on Day 3. Atkins and Boling had moved on from their scuffle and Boyd and Core were back on the field, fully practicing.
Core, in particular, actually had one of the better days overall among all Bengals players.
Licata to Core pic.twitter.com/fNESQVGAcL— Kyle Phelps (@KylePhelps92) July 31, 2016
It’s really good to see Core back and healthy after an injury scare on Saturday. He’s been playing well in camp so far, so the fact that he came back today and did what he did shows that he’s ready to compete for a spot on this crowded receiver roster. The talented sixth round receiver out of Ole Miss was known for his work ethic and competitiveness going into the draft. So, here’s a perfect example of it in training camp.
However, one of the most exciting parts of the camp was the opportunity to watch Andy Dalton throwing killer passes to A.J. Green like we’re expecting to see with frequency when the season rolls around. Hopefully, we’ll see plenty of plays like this when the touchdowns count and Green doesn’t have to stop after two-handed contact.
Dalton to Green like we all know and love pic.twitter.com/0QYJVy4XGt— Kyle Phelps (@KylePhelps92) July 31, 2016
The pair found each other on more than just long bombs, too.
Dalton to Green right up the middle pic.twitter.com/iSTPHY12Be— Kyle Phelps (@KylePhelps92) July 31, 2016
Overall, the quarterbacks and receivers were definitely the stars of training camp Day 3. But, there were also some pretty impressive plays from defensive players, like this would-be sack from reserve linebacker Jayson Dimanche.
Great push to the QB on the play for Dimanche pic.twitter.com/iMJ1Rv4aU6— Kyle Phelps (@KylePhelps92) July 31, 2016
For the most part, people were paying attention to how Dalton and AJ McCarron threw the ball. But, it was also a pretty good day from former University at Buffalo quarterback Joe Licata, who threw a handful of passes to the receivers and seemed to connect on just about every play. There doesn't seem to be much chance for him to make the roster with the Bengals' current quarterback situation. But, he put in some good reps that could show something special to other teams who are looking for a backup quarterback. It’s also possible he could beat out Keith Wenning for a spot on the Bengals’ practice squad.
One of the least fun things to talk about in training camp is when players get hurt. However, on Day 3, one of the bigger injury storylines at the beginning of the day was actually rather encouraging. That was the fact that Boyd and Core, the players who were carted off the field on Day 2, both returned to practice without limitation on Day 3.
In addition to the rookie receiver tandem, Dre Kirkpatrick was noted as having been banged up a bit during practice on Day 2. It didn’t take him long to return to play, but it was still encouraging to see him playing as actively as he did on Day 3, showing that the limping issue from the previous day was nothing to worry about.
The biggest injury news that developed over the course of the day was Jack Gangwish’s unknown injury that resulted in him being carted off the field. The injury wasn’t serious enough to stop practice, so the hope is that he will be able to return to action quickly like Boyd and Core did after being carted off on Day 2. Unfortunately, for the undrafted defensive end out of Nebraska, losing any reps at all to a potential injury issue could be compromising to his already unlikely bid to make the roster. Trevor Roach also left practice, potentially due to overheating and Jake Kumerow seemed to have some sort of small issue as well, which was reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer as a hamstring strain.
If there was ever any doubt whether Core has what it takes to make a legitimate push to make this roster, his performance so far in camp should signal otherwise. Other position battles, for the most part, seem pretty up in the air. But, I would almost be willing to bet Core is leading the pack right now for one of the final few receiver spots.
It was a pretty good day overall for most players at training camp. At this point, everything is mostly about conditioning and learning plays. But, full pads and tackling will come starting today. For now, it’s good to see the players out there putting in some hard work and showing off the talent we’ve been missing since January.