The Bengals were back on the field Tuesday to start of another session of OTAs.
On the injury front, backup tight end Tyler Kroft was not present after working on the side field in previous sessions. Backup running back Tra Carson was seen working on the exercise bike.
Tight end Tyler Kroft and running back Tra Carson also not in attendance today for the open session of the #Bengals final voluntary OTA. Kroft has been on the side field the last two weeks.— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) June 5, 2018
This isn’t good news for Kroft, who is entering a contract year, and there was some thought he could be extended before the regular season begins. He enjoyed a breakout 2017 season with Tyler Eifert out for the majority of the season.
However, the Bengals re-signed Eifert this offseason to a one-year deal, so that may cause the Bengals to wait until after the 2018 season to extend one of Kroft or Eifert. Ironically, Eifert has been present and working in OTAs while Kroft has been sideliend with his mysterious issue.
As for Carson, he’s facing long odds of making the 53-man roster. He had a really good training camp and preseason last year, but an injury led to him being placed on injured reserve before the start of the season.
Since then, the Bengals have aquired Brian Hill, Mark Walton and Quinton Flowers, who will compete for those final spots at running back this year. Carson can’t afford to miss any practice time if he wants to have any hope of making the final roster.
Elsewhere, backup center T.J. Johnson and potential Week 1 starting linebacker Jordan Evans were seen working on the side field, while starting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick was present but not working.
T.J. Johnson and Jordan Evans doing rehab work on side.— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) June 5, 2018
Dre Kirkpatrick here but not working.
Tyler Kroft, Tra Carson and Carlos Dunlap not out here. #Bengals
Kirkpatrick was recently excused from OTAs due to a death in his family. It’s unclear why he’s still not working at Tuesday’s session.
Johnson is competing for a backup lineman spot, which he should win since he can play center and both guard spots. There’s an outside chance he’ll be the Week 1 starter at center if Billy Price doesn’t progress fast enough in his recovery, which he’s fully expected to do.
As for Evans, he’s the slight favorite to start at weakside linebacker while Vontaze Burfict is out with his four-game suspension due to a failed PED test.
In more positive news, star receiver A.J. Green was back at practice after a minor injury scare last week.
Green suffered a quad injury on a collision with William Jackson, but it must have been very minor since he’s already back at Tuesday’s practice, which is great to see.
As for Carlos Dunlap, he continues to skip these voluntary workouts while hoping to get a new contract from the Bengals. We’ve seen a lot of players injured in OTAs across the NFL already. Dunlap isn’t going to let himself become the latest victim, as he has too much riding on this year and his next contract.
Finally, there’s video of John Ross working out, which is always great to see after his injury-plagued rookie season.
Got my first look at John Ross today: pic.twitter.com/gwgodtf7he— James Rapien (@JamesRapien) June 5, 2018
The Bengals are hoping for big things from Ross in Year 2, which could go a long way in determining if the Bengals rebound from last year’s struggles and make the playoffs this season.