The Cincinnati Bengals are finishing up training camp with closed practices this week preceding the team’s Saturday night preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
On Tuesday, linebacker Marquis Flowers, who’s firmly on the roster bubble heading into the final year on his rookie contract, went a bit too far at practice.
According to Jay Morrison of Dayton Daily News, Flowers slapped a football out of third string quarterback Jeff Driskel’s hands, with the action being so rough that Driskel was in “disbelief” and had to take a minute to shake off the pain:
A pair of linebackers drew the ire of Lewis on separate occasions.
The first came about midway through the practice when Marquis Flowers blitzed, got to quarterback Jeff Driskel and carried things too far, slapping at the ball with both hands. Driskel looked at Flowers in disbelief and spent the next minute or so shaking off the pain. Lewis loudly proclaimed his frustration with Flowers and sent him off for a few plays.
Here’s another explanation of what happened via the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Marquis Flowers. He was kicked off the field during a portion of practice for not following directions set forth by Marvin Lewis to leave the quarterback alone on that play. Lewis let him hear about it as Flowers had to retreat to the line with those standing and watching.
Also according to the Enquirer, head coach Marvin Lewis had yelled, “Stay away from the quarterback!” right prior to the start of the 11-on-11 drills during which the Flowers-Driskel interaction occurred.
Training camp practice is not a time to put a quarterback in jeopardy, even the third string quarterback, which Flowers hopefully learned on Tuesday. Though, you have to wonder how someone in their fourth year in the league didn’t already know that. Flowers is likely trying to show everything he can to make the team this year, but showing it by putting a quarterback at risk is not going to help.
Later on in practice, as referenced by Morrison, fellow linebacker Vontaze Burfict got into it with left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi:
Six snaps later, linebacker Vontaze Burfict had words with left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi after a play and had to be separated by running back Joe Mixon and wide receiver Brandon LaFell. Lewis quickly approached Burfict and had words with him.
Lewis made sure to get involved on both occasions, hopefully getting his point across to all involved.
Training camp fights are nothing new; what’s important is that the team is united when taking the field against opponents. And, ya know, ideally that quarterbacks are on the same page as—and not being criticized by—their wide receivers. Something like what happened in Jacksonville on Tuesday is not what we want to see in Cincinnati, even in practice.