For some reason, minimal information is coming out of Cincinnati Bengals OTAs this year.
It seems the Bengals have tightened the restrictions on what reporters can share during and following each OTA session. Our friends in Pittsburgh are getting their share of information with photos and videos.
The Giants have credentialed Big Blue View, allowing for extensive coverage of OTAs in New York. The same goes in San Francisco where Niners Nation is reporting on the details of plays done in practice.
Here’s an example of a tweet out of Raiders OTAs today, note the specifics...
Cable stopping drills to make sure rookie Miller has every detail down; Penn (foot) continues quick comeback, doing most drills that I can see— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) May 29, 2018
And SB Nation’s own Levi Damien is on the scene with video:
But in Cincinnati, the Bengals don’t want reporters even sharing how players are lined up and the positions at which they’re practicing. Geoff Hobson remarked in a live Facebook video that the team may be mad at him for revealing that Cedric Ogbuehi practiced at both tackle spots and will practice at guard during the summer, too.
Credentialed media can only videotape for 15 minutes one day a week in Cincinnati during OTAs, the large majority of which features the players stretching. And, Cincy Jungle is deemed non-traditional media that cannot be credentialed for practice. As such, we’re left to see what the reporters who are credentialed share during and following practice. And so far this year, that information has been minimal.
On Tuesday, the Bengals started their second week of full-team OTAs and just a few bits of relevant details were shared from the practice fields adjacent to Paul Brown Stadium. Major thanks to ESPN’s Katherine Terrell for sharing more than any of the other media members in attendance. Based on Terrell’s posts, the media can be sharing more than most are, but with that said, there definitely are more team restrictions this year.
We can’t report formations or who’s running with who, but there were some moments today at #Bengals OTA courtesy of (no particular order):— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) May 22, 2018
• @andydalton14 deep
• @ajgreen_18 anywhere
• @fantastik_willo, @DreKirkSWAG & @DDennard21 ...
Ha! Always been the rule. All teams have it. Not everyone follows it though— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) May 23, 2018
OTAs may not be a critical part of the finished NFL-product but these practices (typically) allow us some insight into how the team is working its way toward training camp and the upcoming season.
Tuesday in Cincinnati started out with news that Dre Kirkpatrick and Carlos Dunlap were not present for practice.
Everybody in attendance for second week of Bengals OTA except for CB Dre Kirkpatrick and DE Carlos Dunlap.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) May 29, 2018
For the second week in a row, tight end Tyler Kroft was on the side field and joining him was left guard Clint Boling. Hopefully the reasons both guys are working on their own are minor and not concerning for the longterm.
At the start of position work, tight end Tyler Kroft and left guard Clint Boling working out on the side field. #Bengals— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) May 29, 2018
Here’s a nice look at Tyler Eifert’s mullet!
Terrell shared that William Jackson had a great day. Here he is blocking second year wide receiver John Ross, which is a nice sight.
William Jackson has had a great day today. Not sure he has allowed a completion yet. pic.twitter.com/MuxX6KhaxZ— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) May 29, 2018
This isn’t what you want to hear about your backup quarterback...
Matt Barkley just threw a pass at William Jackson’s feet, which is not ideal.— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) May 29, 2018
Besides Matt Barkley throwing passes at defenders’ feet, rookie quarterback Logan Woodside reportedly hasn’t thrown at all during OTAs. It doesn’t seem to be injury-related though as he’s been working with Bengals receivers and friends outside of OTAs and broadcasting the results on social media.
Woodside hasn’t thrown at all https://t.co/EyUD7G5cqI— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) May 29, 2018
And, apparently A.J. Green collided with a defensive back or two and sat on the sidelines for the rest of OTAs, as a result. It was likely just precautionary as the Pro Bowl receiver hardly needs an OTA practice to get by.
I asked A.J. Green if Jay Gruden’s “Don’t touch the merchandise!” line ran through his head when he ran into some defenders today.— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) May 29, 2018
He laughed, said no, but he skipped the rest of OTA for precautionary reasons after knocking legs with DBs after a catch.
I should clarify - sideline view was obscured. So it’s possible there was no contact. Anyway, he said he’s good. https://t.co/DK5ALp5CuG— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) May 29, 2018
In addition to the note on Green, it sounds like Jackson may have gotten banged up a bit, too, though he said he was OK and per Paul Dehner Jr., he returned to the field. If he wasn’t perfectly fine, I’m sure the team wouldn’t risk anything in an OTA session.
Notable -- A.J. Green didn't do anything in the second half of practice today after a possible collision while trying to catch a pass over the middle (it was hard to see). William Jackson walked off slowly with an athletic trainer, declined to say what happened, said he was OK— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) May 29, 2018
Two key #Bengals had tense moments today. A.J. Green looked to tweak his quad and checked out of practice midway through. Wasn't tended to by trainers though. William Jackson III came out from a play holding his hand and was looked at, but returned a series later.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) May 29, 2018
On the bright side...
Outside of that moment -- and not surprisingly -- William Jackson III has been lockdown, top-tier CB in the two practices open to the media.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) May 29, 2018
Terrell added that while the offense didn’t look great today (flashback to training camp 2017, anyone?) Ross has looked impressive.
The offense as a whole did not look great today, it's possible they installed some things this week because it clearly needed some work, but I think Ross has had two solid practices that I've gotten to see him https://t.co/HXKzqAOw8N— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) May 29, 2018
And he’s getting in time on the field, finally!
Biggest thing for Ross is he's getting the reps he needs. He had a lot of reps today.— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) May 29, 2018
And a note on an actual play! Cornerback Tony McRae will need many, many nice plays this summer to make the roster. But with that said, two negative tweets about Barkley don’t offer much to be excited about if is to remain the Bengals’ backup quarterback.
Cornerback Tony McRae made a nice play on a pass by Matt Barkley today for an interception.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) May 29, 2018
Shawn Williams is apparently dealing with some type of injury, which is allowing for rookie Jessie Bates to see more practice reps.
Shawn Wiliams continues to run sprints across the field intermittently between plays. Hasn't participated in practice. Allowed Jessie Bates III starting reps next to George Iloka. Important snaps for the second-rounder right now.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) May 29, 2018
And yeah... that’s the extent of the information shared on Twitter about Tuesday’s Bengals OTA session. The rest of the week will be closed to the media, so I wouldn’t expect much more to come out about the actual on-the-field stuff. There was also an opportunity for the media to talk to players in the locker room today, so some details will emerge from that (at least, I assume they will).
But, it sure would be nice for more to be shared from practice. What’s the point of the media being there if nothing beyond some quick news hits are going to make it out to the public? I’m sure bits and pieces of what went on during the OTA practice will make it into articles from the credentialed media and inform their writing during the summer, but it just feels like we’re missing out on what other fanbases are enjoying — and that’s details from the field during the long offseason months.