After a rough week on the injury front, the Bengals got a much-needed rest day on Wednesday. On Thursday, the team returned to the practice field as Day 6 of training camp opened. Vontaze Burfict was practicing for the first time this training camp. Tyler Eifert was spotted on the rehab field. And, Shawn Williams was practicing after leaving early on Tuesday. Here is a look at our biggest takeaways from what took place.
1) Sights for Sore Eyes
As alluded too, it's been a rough week on the injury front, but there was some relief on Thursday.
Burfict back to work. #Bengals pic.twitter.com/tXata9ZMN8— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) August 4, 2016
It came as linebacker Vontaze Burfict made his return after coming off the NFI list. Because he'll miss the first three games of 2016, that puts even more importance on every practice he gets in between now and Week 1.
EIFERT gettin' his work in, and Tez back in pads. @ENQSports #Bengals #WhoDey pic.twitter.com/BVsGZLTP5k— Kareem Elgazzar (@ElgazzarBLVD) August 4, 2016
Also back on the rehab field Thursday was Eifert. The Pro Bowl tight end had been constricted to a walking boot for much the past two months, but was finally able to shed it and do some conditioning work.
Though Eifert could still be a month or two away from being cleared for game action, just seeing him on the rehab field working out is a big step in his recovery, not to mention a great sight for some sore Bengals eyes.
2) Cody Core is Legit
Any professional player can string together a few good practices (see Brandon Tate), but when you're doing it for over a week, and consistently turning heads, you're probably legit.
That's what looks to be the case with Cody Core, who seemingly has yet to have a bad practice. Between his size and speed, Core is finding ways to make big plays every day.
Cody Core with a nice catch in 7 on 7 #bengals https://t.co/8Uvr95WgXy— sarah (@sarahpamerica) August 4, 2016
Both attributes were on display Thursday as he blew by Chykie Brown for an easy touchdown.
#Bengals rookie Cody Core with the okie-doke on Chykie Brown in 1 on 1. pic.twitter.com/mBRwYFiP15— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) August 4, 2016
Though it's still just one week of camp, Core has made a strong case for being in the top four of the receiver rotation this year. At this rate, he may even steal some snaps from Brandon LaFell as that second boundary receiver next to A.J. Green.
Cody Core keeps making plays. #Bengals @OleMissFB pic.twitter.com/elLZKOctPo— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) August 4, 2016
But if nothing else, the sixth-round rookie has all but locked up his spot on the final roster. That's how good of a camp he's having.
3) Chykie Brown...Ooof
This has been a bad camp for veteran corner Chykie Brown. He's been embarrassed on far too many plays and beaten easily in coverage, much of which has come at the hands of rookie receivers Cody Core and Tyler Boyd.
Brown has never been someone you'd want as your second or third corner, but he looks like someone who doesn't need to even sniff the final roster of a title-contending team.
This becomes even more notable of a development with William Jackson III out for the foreseeable future and Leon Hall in New York, not to mention Darqueze Dennard out for at least a week. Brown is likely the fifth or sixth best corner right now, assuming Josh Shaw is going to be used at cornerback.
Brown has struggled in camp thus far and another corner is going to have to step up.
4) Uzi Time
With Tyler Kroft and Tyler Eifert sidelined for at least the next month. C.J. Uzomah may very well be the Bengals' starting tight end. That's a scary thought when you realize he barely saw the field as a rookie while catching just one pass for a whopping four yards, not to mention he had a very shaky training camp and preseason in his rookie year.
But the Bengals liked the potential they saw in Uzomah; enough that they thought he'd eventually develop into a nice pass-catching tight end. So far, so good in his second training camp.
Andy Dalton has found CJ Uzomah a lot today. pic.twitter.com/rqxHx6kmJl— James Rapien (@JamesRapien) August 4, 2016
Uzomah has been running with the starters a lot this week, and he had a good Thursday while getting almost all of the first-team reps.
CJ Uzomah taking first team reps #bengals https://t.co/aShL6xgnsq— sarah (@sarahpamerica) August 4, 2016
CJ Uzomah getting more first team reps #bengals https://t.co/BDxo3TLWMT— sarah (@sarahpamerica) August 4, 2016
Uzomah may very well end up being the Bengals’ most improved player in 2016, or at least looks to have the biggest jump in production from 2015 to now. He’s already in good position to get a lot more playing time this season.