The Bengals have now wrapped up three training camp sessions after a productive Saturday in near-perfect weather.
This was the first day that shoulder pads came on, which made it far more interesting to watch how team drills progressed with a more game-like environment in place.
Here are four takeaways from Day 3:
Price moving well
The Bengals are hoping Billy Price proves to be a major upgrade over Russell Bodine. One of the biggest downfalls of Bodine was his inability to get good movement and block well at the second and third levels. He whiffed on those types of runs on a frequent basis and ended up being the death of far too many promising runs, so it’s good to hear Price is doing well in this regard:
If Price can lock down the center spot and make a positive impact in 2018, it will go a long way in helping this offensive line making a big jump. It’s been so far, so good in training camp, and that will hopefully continue into the preseason.
Ross keeps blazing
John Ross was one of the big stories through the first two days of camp. He just kept blazing right by Dre Kirkpatrick as the two were often matched up.
On defense, William Jackson has looked phenomenal at cornerback, even at times when he was guarding A.J. Green.
But on Saturday, Ross got the better of Jackson when they began matching up more:
Seeing Ross healthy and blazing through training camp has been one of the best stories thus far. Injuries robbed him of his rookie year, just as it did with Jackson in 2016 before he became an elite corner in 2017.
If Ross keeps this up in the regular season, it nor only upgrades the No. 2 receiver spot, but it also frees up A.J. Green more and make him a stronger No. 1.
The Bengals are still waiting to see who can win the starting spots at right guard and right tackle, and neither appears close to being won. Any two of Alex Redmond, Christian Westerman, Bobby Hart, Cedric Ogbuehi, TJ Johnson and Jake Fisher could win those spots.
After them is when things get really interesting. That was even made more true on Saturday when certain players were at a new position:
Kent Perkins being able to play left guard in addition to tackle would give him a stronger case to make the 53-man roster. Bobby Hart was thought to be a guard for the Bengals, but if he can be serviceable at tackle as well, he too will make a stronger push for the 53-man roster.
The offensive line is and will remain the most interesting situation in training camp and through the preseason. And it’s possible the starting spots are up for grabs into the regular season.
3 safety lineups
When the Bengals spent a second-round draft pick, many wondered if that signaled they wanted an upgrade over George Iloka or Shawn Williams. It’s hard to spend a second-round pick on anyone you don’t expect to be starting within his first two seasons.
Or, perhaps the Bengals wanted someone they could incorporate in as a third safety, something becoming more popular in the NFL but still hasn’t taken off yet. Turns out the Bengals may want to try and play Bates along with Iloka and Williams.
It’s just a DBs drill, but for what it’s worth there is a set with Bates back deep and both Iloka and Williams are close to the line— Nick Manchester (@NickManchester9) July 28, 2018
Both Iloka and Williams are big and physical enough to act as linebackers, so this could actually want a lighter defense that still has some hope of stopping the run.
Bates is strictly a deep-field safety that shouldn’t have many chances to stop the run. In college, he was awful at times in missing tackles, but he’s a great center fielder that can make a play on the ball very often.
The Bengals have been missing that since Reggie Nelson left. They’re hoping Bates is the answer and brings an added dimension back to the Bengals dense.
What was your big takeaway from today?