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Bengals Training Camp 2016: 4 takeaways from Day 8/Family Day

The Bengals practiced inside Paul Brown Stadium today in front of more than 7,000 Bengals fans. Tyler Boyd and C.J. Uzomah were the stars of the day, recording a touchdown each.

The Bengals hit the field of Paul Brown Stadium on Saturday for Family Day. It was an exciting training camp practice, featuring a mock scrimmage in which the first team offense played against the second team defense and the first team defense against the second team offense. There were 7,650 fans in attendance who got to take advantage of the fun and free day inside PBS.

As expected, Darqueze Dennard, Tyler Kroft, Tyler Eifert, William Jackson III and Brandon Thompson were not practicing. Somewhat less expected, Matt Lengel, Ryan Hewitt, Trevor Roach, Jake Kumerow, Chris Lewis-Harris and Zach Hocker were also sitting out. With Hocker out, Mike Nugent was the kicker for both teams on Saturday.

Derron Smith who injured his ankle yesterday remained off-the-field, as did James Wright who just returned from a 20-month knee and microfracture recovery. Andrew Whitworth also had the day off, in what is assumed to be a veteran’s rest day.

1) C.J. Uzomah proving he’s ready to step up

Uzomah scored the only touchdown in the first “half” of the Bengals’ mock scrimmage; it came on a pass from Andy Dalton. It also occurred just moments after he hauled in a 31-yard reception, too. Uzomah has been asked to step up in the wake of injuries to Eifert and Kroft and even though this is just training camp practice, he’s looked really strong in the opportunities he’s received.

Those opportunities include practicing with the first team, which he’s taken advantage of. It will be great to see Uzomah in action on Friday night against the Vikings. He’s definitely one of the most important players to keep an eye on as camp continues and the preseason begins in less than one week.

2) Tyler Boyd earning regular-season playing time

Nothing is decided in training camp and Tyler Boyd will need to have a strong showing in the preseason to prove he’s worthy of extensive playing time during the regular season. But, he’s having as good of a training camp as a rookie (or maybe anyone) could have. Every single day there’s a play where Boyd is turning heads. Today, Boyd hauled in a 39-yard touchdown catch from AJ McCarron. McCarron switched over to the first team after halftime, once Dalton called it a day. Keith Wenning took McCarron’s place with the second team at that time.

Boyd celebrated his touchdown with Uzomah in the endzone after the touchdown was scored. These two could have very promising careers ahead in Cincinnati and were the only two players to score a touchdown on Saturday.

3) Players need the preseason to get acclimated to playing

Dalton left the game after the first “half” (not even really a full half of football) and from videos shared as the afternoon wore on, it seemed the players were getting tired.

Football is surely tiring and that’s why the preseason is needed to help players get re-adjusted to the wear and tear of 60-minutes of play in the NFL. In the play above, it seems many of the players are simply giving up. And, this “game” really means nothing, so that’s not too surprising. It’s hot, it’s August and no one wants to get injured. The Bengals finally actually had a fully-padded practice in which no one got hurt today. So, that’s a huge plus after a week that saw many injuries, though nearly all are minor.

As for some stats, per Coley Harvey, Andy Dalton was 9-for-12 recording 122 yards and a touchdown. AJ McCarron was 6-for-12 with 107 yards and a touchdown.

4) Defense much less talked about during camp

The defense gets much less attention during camp than the offense. Maybe because the offense is easier to evaluate or flashier. That’s unclear, but let’s go through some of the details we were able to find about the defense today.

  • Adam Jones had an interception on Keith Wenning, who reportedly made a pretty bad decision to throw the ball Jones’ way.
  • On the first offensive drive for the second team offense, Geno Atkins made a play that would have been a sack, were sacks allowed at this point in camp. There actually would have been quite a few sacks today, if allowed. There’s a no tackling #14 rule, so, we won’t see Dalton taken down until the preseason, or if the offensive line does their job at a high level, the regular-season.
  • The first team nickel defense saw DeShawn Williams and Margus Hunt playing defensive tackle with Josh Shaw at the slot and Karlos Dansby and Vontaze Burfict at linebacker, per Paul Dehner Jr.
  • It appears that Chykie Brown broke up a pass on this play, which is good news for him because the discussion surrounding Brown has been nearly all negative so far.

The Bengals are off tomorrow but return to practice on Monday at 3:00 p.m. for the final week of public practices. The preseason kicks off for the Bengals on Friday night when the Minnesota Vikings come to town.

On a side note, Andrew Whitworth has the cutest kids.