Bengals training camp is underway and we’re inching closer toward the 2018 NFL season. Day one at training camp came with its ups and downs. The downs were immediate as fans woke up to news of Tyler Eifert being placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list with a back injury. That was followed up by news of Vontaze Burfict also being placed on the PUP list while dealing with hamstring tightness.
But, the majority of the news on Thursday was positive and there’s a lot for fans to be happy about! Many of the highlights of the day were driven by the offense, but that’s somewhat expected without pads on and it should change in the coming days as practices intensify. Here are five of the best things that happened on the Bengals’ first day of training camp.
1) Billy Price is working with the first team offense, and knows he has a lot to learn
If the Bengals’ first round draft pick came into day one of camp and was perfect, it would have been scarier than him coming in, doing well, but knowing he still has a lot to work on. He had some issues snapping the ball, which will be the first thing he needs to perfect. He played mostly in the shotgun at Ohio State, which won’t be the case with the Bengals.
“A couple of things we’ve got to change, like snapping when the ball is supposed to be snapped,” Price said of what he’ll need to work on after his first day of camp, via Bengals.com. “Don’t tail it when we’re running right on my right butt cheek and keep it on the contact point at all times.”
For all the rookies, there’s a need to get up to NFL speed and realize the difference between college and the pros.
“Yeah, you’re not used to that speed. I haven’t played football since Dec. 29 and the last guys I played against were college guys,” Price said. “Playing against professional athletes, we’ve got some talented, quick guys over there and I wasn’t expecting it. I guess I undervalued their quickness. It was my first day, so I will get that corrected. It was my fault.”
2) John Ross made the play of the day — and it came via an excellent throw from Andy Dalton
The crowd went as wild as a training camp crowd of 950 peoples gets when Andy Dalton threw a 50+ yard touchdown pass to John Ross.
Biggest roar of the day.— Jeremy Rauch (@FOX19Jeremy) July 26, 2018
Andy Dalton 50-yd deep ball to John Ross for TD. Beat Dre Kirkpatrick. #Bengals @FOX19
Here’s the footage:
.@andydalton14 going DEEP to @WatchJRoss! #SeizeTheDEY pic.twitter.com/Zm92n4airi— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) July 27, 2018
Not too many standouts today but I thought Joe Mixon looked good and made some nice cuts. John Ross had a great deep catch down the sideline that was probably the play of the day. Defensively, emphasis remains on going after every loose ball and being aggressive about turnovers— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) July 26, 2018
Hey, I’ll take all the good news on Ross I can get! And he didn’t even think he had a great day.
"I don't feel like I really did special. This is day 1. We will all continue to get better, all the receivers... AJ is AJ." John Ross on his 50+ yard TD. @WLWT pic.twitter.com/6xPXRHXl2r— Brandon Saho (@BrandonSaho) July 26, 2018
John Ross ran past Tony McRae in this drill. McRae answered by knocking the ball away from Brandon LaFell during his next rep pic.twitter.com/TVwbB5dhEa— James Rapien (@JamesRapien) July 26, 2018
3) Tyler Boyd impressed, too!
This is a big year for Boyd. He needs to do well and not just do well for one game, but for the entire season. Boyd impressed on his first day of camp, catching five passes. Dalton was 10/12 in full team drills and Boyd was the recipient of half of those completions. That’s a great sign as Boyd and Dalton really need to solidify their connection in the next month and a half.
In 2017, the Bengals offense ranked an NFL worst 32nd. I asked Tyler Boyd if he uses that as motivition: "Definitely. You look around, we have a veteran QB, one of the best receivers, a potential top 5 running back. We got the talent." @WLWT pic.twitter.com/PyepCKHMhr— Brandon Saho (@BrandonSaho) July 26, 2018
Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson named Boyd his player of the day:
The most impressive play may have been a Dalton dart thrown through a tight window of safeties Josh Shaw and Brandon Wilson and Boyd tracked it and caught it before yanking it out of traffic.
Boyd was probably the second best receiver of the spring behind A.J. Green, but some wonder if the traits that make him so effective in the slot translate to the outside.
“He’s quick. He gets separation pretty quickly and his sudden movements can get him open,” Dalton said of Boyd after practice. “That’s big for a slot player. We’re expecting a little more production out of the slot. He’s perfect for it.”
John Sheeran wrote earlier this week about how important it is for Dalton to have three reliable receivers and Boyd stepping up would go a long way.
4) “SCOOP” - Teryl Austin is ensuring the defense is always thinking about turnovers
We heard during spring workouts that new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin was using the word “scoop” to emphasize to his players that they should always be thinking about turnovers and getting the ball in their hands. That’s continuing in training camp.
Austin is constantly talking. You’ll hear “scoop” yelled all practice because they want the defense to make a habit of going after every ball. The emphasis on making turnovers second nature is pretty clear and you can see that in practice https://t.co/aDBRW4HkOF— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) July 26, 2018
I really love the sound of this as the Bengals’ defense had an issue forcing turnovers in 2017. That needs to change in a big way for the team to make it back to the playoffs this year. Austin should have a huge impact on the team as a whole and getting a defense that has tons of star players and players with potential to produce at the level expected of them.
New DC Teryl Austin makin the calls, and he’s got the players’ attention and respect. More tonight on @Local12. #Bengals pic.twitter.com/Cfw70iPjdX— aly cohen (@alyco32) July 26, 2018
5) The offensive line is shaping up with competition on the right side
There are no pads on the first day of training camp, so take this with a grain of salt. But, the offensive line didn’t look bad on Thursday.
“The way they’re capturing the line of scrimmage, gotta wait till they put pads on, but to me, watching it out here today, the offensive like is definitely attacking the line of scrimmage and the running game,” former Bengals offensive lineman and current team radio color analyst Dave Lapham said after practice. “We were watching a drill, and you said, ‘they’re running the football this drill, all they’re doing is running the ball,’ and they gassed the defense a couple of times. I mean, there were big cavities to take advantage of, so, the offensive line is aggressive and I think that has a ripple effect on all aspects of the team.”
That sounds great... Again, no pads. But, that sounds great.
Also of note, Cedric Ogbuehi was the first player working with the first team offense at right tackle and Trey Hopkins was the first working with the first team offense at right guard. Other guys will surely get their shots as there will be an ongoing competition at both positions. Alex Redmond did rotate in with the first time at right guard and likewise Jake Fisher rotated in with the first team at right tackle. Christian Westerman is currently on the Physically Unable to Perform/Illness list while dealing with a virus. So, he should be back soon enough and will enter the right guard competition again, too.
The offensive line looks much better than last year. Dalton has had time to throw today. #Bengals #NFL— J. Angelo Carriero (@AngeloMediaLex) July 26, 2018
Sorry for the lack of defensive hype, but I’m sure that will come soon. What was the best thing you heard or saw from Day 1 at training camp?