The Bengals have now completed four days of training camp, the latest of which was a fully-padded session on Sunday.
It’s been a productive camp so far, and that continued with a nice outing on Sunday that a reported 1,700 fans attended.
Here are four things you need to know from the latest Bengals training camp session.
Brown getting his shot
The Bengals don’t have a real competition at kicker right now, but they are giving Jonathan Brown a chance to show what he’s made of. The former Louisville soccer star is still making the transition to kicker, and he’s spent the better part of two years with Cincinnati in some capacity.
However, Brown has rarely gotten a chance to actually kick in a training camp practice, but he’s getting his shot this year. It also seems he’s showing some nice progress:
Jonathan Brown is kicking today. Good from 38, 48, 43 (x2), 45. He also missed from 45. He and Randy Bullock are rotating days but it really doesn’t feel like much of a competition this year.— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) July 29, 2018
Again Brown is very unlikely to unseat the incumbent Randy Bullock, but perhaps there’s an outside chance Brown is signed to the practice squad.
The Bengals obviously can do better than Bullock, who is only under contract for one more season. That’s another reason why it would be wise to have a backup kicker waiting in the wings, though Brown is probably still a ways away from being that guy.
Through the first three days of Bengals training camp, Logan Woodside was a ghost when it came to team drills. After Andy Dalton, it’s been all Matt Barkley and Jeff Driskel at backup quarterback, while Woodside has been cemented to the sideline and doesn’t appear to be a threat to even win the third-string spot.
Then on Sunday, Woodside was unable to practice with an undisclosed issue. Between the offseason DUI arrest, rarely getting reps in OTAs or training camp and now this issue, it’s starting to feel like a toss-up that he even is signed to the practice squad.
That would be really unfortunate, as Woodside showed a lot of potential in college to think he could be groomed into a solid backup quarterback. Maybe that’s still the case, but it’s feeling more and more like it won’t happen in Cincinnati if he continues to be shafted from reps.
The preseason may be what makes or breaks Woodside’s stint in the Queen City.
Malone tweaks hammy
While Tyler Boyd and John Ross have been the big non-A.J. Green performers in training camp thus far, Josh Malone has also been having a very nice camp. He did the same last year and left no doubt the fourth-round pick out of Tennessee was making the final roster.
Malone needed to do the same this year with the addition of Auden Tate to an already-deep receiver unit. Thus far, Malone was leaving little doubt he should be on the final roster, but he had a minor setback on Sunday.
Looks like WR Josh Malone (who has had a stellar camp thus far) tweaked his left hamstring. He’s icing up, appears done for the day.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) July 29, 2018
Hopefully, this is something very minor and won’t keep Malone out for long. You’d really hate to see an injury cost him a spot on the 53-man roster, but with guys like Tate, Cody Core and Alex Erickson breathing down his neck, it’s certainly in the realm of possibility.
Of course, the Bengals could play it smart and cut bait with over-the-hill Brandon LaFell and keep all of their young receivers, but that just feels like something this coaching staff is incapable of doing as much as they love their vets.
Ross ‘is’ the story of training camp
Coming into training camp, a lot of the focus was on the offensive line and the offense as a whole. After all, this was the unit that really hamstrung the 2017 Bengals and really kept this team from winning 2-3 more games and making the playoffs.
While those units have looked good so far, the real story is how great John Ross has looked. For four-straight days, Ross has been arguably the biggest performer, and he’s got everyone buzzing at Bengals training camp.
Once again, it’s the John Ross show out here. Beating DBs with straight line speed and quick moves. The gathered #Bengals fans are salivating.— Jed DeMuesy (@Local12Jed) July 29, 2018
Another day where John Ross shows off something special. After a great early period, he hits over the top of the first team wide open.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) July 29, 2018
We keep bringing it up, but Ross deserves the frequent attention and praise he’s getting with how well he’s performing in training camp.
On one hand, that should be the case with a former top-10 draft pick that lit up college football, despite playing with a weak-armed quarterback in Jake Browning that didn’t even throw a touchdown in four of his final seven games last season.
On the other hand, Ross’ rookie year was so disastrous that there was real concern he’d be able to make a big impact in the NFL.
Thankfully, it looks like Ross is living up to his top-10 pick billing and is ready to make a major impact on this team, which could prove to be the difference in several games this coming season.
Considering the Bengals went 7-9 without him in 2017 and have almost everyone back, it’s fair to think Ross could make this a nine or 10-win team in 2018 if he keeps this up into the regular season.