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Bengals’ star veterans taking young players under their wings

Some of the more decorated veteran Bengals players are giving tips to the younger guys in training camp, rather than simply enjoying when they beat them in drills.

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Bengals have made a number of moves in the coaching ranks since the end of last season, but players have also stated they want to take a bigger role in leading the locker room.

As training camp is underway, some of the more decorated veterans on the Bengals are becoming mentors to the younger players on the roster. And while the in-practice battles between players of opposing positions have been heated, Geoff Hobson of recently relayed some interesting situations where the veterans have been giving tips to others in drills.

For instance, wide receiver A.J. Green beat cornerback Darqueze Dennard, a player who is looking to break out in 2016, in practice and instead of gloating, the Pro Bowl wideout took him aside to give him some advice. It’s just another example of how different of a path Green is taking than that from his excellent predecessor, Chad Johnson.

“A.J. gave me some advice. He told me something,” said Dennard, who didn’t divulge what the specifics of Green’s words were. “It was a ‘Go,’ ball. I was there. He did his thing and caught the ball. He did something when the ball was in the air.

“He was telling me ways to stop it,” Dennard continued. “His whole thing is it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You don’t win any games in training camp. The team needs to get better toward the season.”

Green isn’t the only one helping out some of the youngsters, though. Pro Bowl defensive end Carlos Dunlap has been going up against second-year offensive tackle, Cedric Ogbuehi often in drills so far in camp. While Dunlap really likes what he has seen out of Ogbuehi, he is still offering him tips as he gets set for a starting role in 2016.

“Athletically he’s already there, now he just has to clean some things up,” Dunlap continued. “He has the pen and paper right now. He just has to do it right. This is his first training camp starting from day one, so that’s when he’ll make the most progress. He opened up his hips too quickly. Those are sacks. He gave me an easy edge on the play, so I told him and he corrected it. Stay squarer to the line of scrimmage.”

“I see what we saw when we drafted him,” Dunlap said. “He’s the most athletic I’ve seen. His arms are longer than mine, which is rare. If you had to pick somebody right now, I can’t say that because I haven’t studied him.”

It’s a bit of a different mantra than we’ve seen publicly from the Bengals in past years, but it also shows their all hands on deck mentality to get past last year’s playoff debacle. The seasoned veterans seem to be conveying the seriousness of the team’s desire to hoist the Lombardi Trophy after this season.

“The goal of training camp is to get healthy and to make everyone on the team better while competing as much as you can,” said Dunlap, coming off a Pro Bowl season with the most sacks by a Bengal in a generation. “We’re trying not to hurt each other. We’re trying to make each other better. That’s training camp.”

It’s a well thought out sentiment from a guy who is participating in his seventh training camp. Though the Bengals had some scares on Saturday with the injury bug, the team avoided disaster with rookie wide receivers Cody Core and Tyler Boyd both returning to practice on Sunday.

As Dunlap said, the goal of camp is to come out healthy and improved by the time Week 1 hits. It sounds like the veterans are doing what they can to ensure that happens for a clear path to a championship in 2016.