The Bengals kicked off Day 4 of training camp on Monday after a drama-filled Day 3 on Sunday. 1,350 fans showed up to watch the Bengals practice and the pads were on from shoulders to knees for the first time!
Yesterday, the big stories revolved around the injury front as Michael Johnson, Wallace Gilberry, George Iloka, and Derron Smith all dealt with injuries to various degrees.
In the case of Johnson, his injury appears to be ongoing, though it’s unknown what he’s dealing with that’s keeping him off-the-field. Iloka and Smith were not present on Monday after going down with knee and ankle injuries, respectively, on Sunday.
In addition to those players, there were a few others not practicing today, including Andre Smith (who was on the rehab field) and AJ McCarron who had a family emergency. Running back Giovani Bernard got a day off likely due to his ACL recovery.
Andre Smith took off after stretch & 1 play of install to side field. Shed his pads, working with Johnson, Wilson & Peerman. #Bengals— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) July 31, 2017
No sign of AJ McCarron today. Also, Gio Bernard taking first day in full pads off.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) July 31, 2017
AJ McCarron missed practice due to a family emergency— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) July 31, 2017
However, despite some less than positive injury news from the Bengals’ defensive end unit, Wallace Gilberry’s return should help ease some of the tension.
Regarding Iloka, his injury isn’t expected to be too serious.
My understanding on #Bengals S George Iloka: ACL, MCL are intact, but MRI results still being evaluated.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) July 31, 2017
Once practice started, the news was generally all positive.
The defensive line started off strong.
And has been the case, there were also a lot of rumblings from the wide receiver corps.
WR coach James Urban yells "stay in!" at John Ross when he catches a pass near the SL. They've been working on making sure he doesn't go OOB— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) July 31, 2017
In fact, it was the wide receivers that stole the show.
Key members of the unit each saw their highlights throughout the day. John Ross, in particular, created quite a buzz.
Then, there was A.J. Green.
Today is Green’s birthday and his son showed up with a balloon to celebrate.
Brandon LaFell looked good in cone drills.
All together, the group looks inspiring.
In addition to the promise shown by the wide receivers, the Bengals had plenty of reason to be excited about the offensive side of the ball. Rookie second round pick Joe Mixon displayed explosion, precision, and athleticism in the drills today and broke off for what would have been a touchdown for at least the third time during camp.
Loud claps for Joe Mixon as he breaks free for a long TD run behind the first team O line. Did a quick victory lap slapping fives with fans.— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) July 31, 2017
Jeremy Hill got in on the action, too.
Speaking of running backs, the Bengals had a surprise visitor at camp today as First 50 member James Brooks attended camp!
For the most part, the Bengals put in a lot of good work at training camp on Day 4. However, there was one issue from center Russell Bodine, who has a history of bad snaps at bad times.
Our first, "Come on, Russell!" For a bad Bodine snap. He's been solid do far. #Bengals— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) July 31, 2017
A bad snap on the fourth day of training camp is not a great look for the Bengals’ embattled starting center, but, this is the time to work out the kinks. Luckily, the issue seemed to be an isolated one, and another great highlight from the wide receiver corps put everyone back in good spirits.
Josh Malone just beat Dre Kirkpatrick in one-on-ones. Malone didn't win with the double move, but accelerated past Dre anyways for a TD— James Rapien (@JamesRapien) July 31, 2017
Unfortunately, the Bengals couldn’t avoid bad news all day. Late in practice backup center T.J. Johnson received some minor bad news, which could potentially limit him as he is fighting off J.J. Dielman for the Bengals’ backup center job, as well as a shot at the right guard role.
#Bengals OL T.J. Johnson tweaked something during OL/DL drills. Still participating but hasn't rotated back in during 11s or install.— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) July 31, 2017
There were a few more red flags, that we’ll continue to monitor... Wide receiver Chris Brown seemed to get dinged up, as did cornerback Tony McRae. Both are deep on the depth chart and neither is expected to make the 53-man roster.
Wideout Chris Brown is sitting unattended on the sideline, still with helmet & pads on. #Bengals— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) July 31, 2017
#Bengals corner Tony McRae went down non-contact covering on a punt. Hobbled off, but unattended on sideline.— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) July 31, 2017
With the kicking competition heating up, every kick matters. The Bengals cut Jonathan Brown on Monday, so now just Randy Bullock and Jake Elliott remain. Elliott missed a 40-yard shot on Monday and was the only kicker to do field goals during practice.
Only Elliott kicking today. Good frim 35, 42, 44. Missed way wide left from 40 #Bengals— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) July 31, 2017
After practice was over, quarterback Andy Dalton and Ross worked one-on-one... well, not exactly one-on-one as Dalton’s son Noah was there, too.
It’s great to see Dalton and Ross putting in work!
All in all, the Bengals seem to have had a successful Day 4 of training camp. As to be expected, there were a few setbacks, but for the most part it was great to see some of the young offensive talent impressing and getting ready to make an impact come Week 1.
And, there was shaved ice after practice! Thanks to Dre Kirkpatrick who paid for the truck to come to the stadium for the players.
The Bengals have practice tomorrow, but it’s only open to the media and season ticket holders. Wednesday is an off day for the team. Public practices resume on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. ET with gates opening at 2:30 p.m.