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Bengals training camp 2018: 4 takeaways from Day 10

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Health was the big story on Monday as the Benglas prepare for their preseason opener.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Minicamp Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals are now just two practices away from completing their 2018 training camp following Monday’s session.

The team will be back on the field Tuesday, then host the Bears in the preseason opener on Thursday. Then comes a Sunday camp session, the final practice of training camp this year.

Here are four things to know from what went on Monday:

Bengals getting healthier

The big story Monday wasn’t what took place on the practice field, but instead who was on it. The Bengals finally got Vontaze Burfict off the NFI list after he nearly missed all of training camp with a tight hamstring.

He’s back.

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If you recall, Burfict reported to 2016 training camp out of shape since he knew he was serving a three-game suspension to begin the season. That’s probably what happened this year as well since he’s out for the first four games for a PED suspension.

Still, it’s great to see he was able to get clearance before camp ended. While he practiced Monday and could play Thursday vs Chicago, he should probably sit this one out, allowing the younger linebackers who will replace him to get more reps.

Elsewhere, the Bengals got wide receiver Josh Malone and Auden Tate back from their injuries. Ironically, both players got injured right after the Bengals cut Brandon LaFell, so the wide receiver group was pretty thin for a few days.

Thankfully, they’re both back and will hopefully play Thursday as they look to secure their spots on the 53-man roster.

Logan Woodside also returned to practice Monday. He probably won’t play much, if at all Thursday as Matt Barkley and Jeff Driskel likely get most of the snaps after Andy Dalton plays a series or two.

Ross is in his own head

John Ross was one of the stars of training camp early on, so much so that he appeared likely to open the year as the No. 2 boundary receiver following Brandon LaFell’s release.

But since LaFell was cut, Ross has seemingly felt more pressure being placed upon him, and he’s handled it very poorly due to drops.

It’s been a frequent occurrence recently, so you have to think Ross is in his own head now. While his roster spot isn’t in jeopardy, Ross is certainly in danger of losing that starting boundary spot to another receiver.

Both Malone and Tate are breathing down his neck, and if the drops keep up, it won’t be a surprise to see one of them starting over Ross in Week 1.

One of the big storylines in Thursday’s preseason opener will be if the drops continue for Ross. Once they start happening in games, that’s when he’ll start falling down the depth chart.

Hubbard the new MJ?

Michael Johnson has enjoyed a late-career revival thanks to his ability to rush the passer as a defensive tackle on passing downs. But while he’s making a nice impact here, he’s now 31 years old and entering the final year of his contract.

That’s why the Bengals would be very wise to have his replacement groomed to take over in 2018, and it sounds like Sam Hubbard could be that guy:

Marvin Lewis praised Hubbard during offseason workouts and said he expected the rookie to play early and often this season. While he hasn’t gotten as much fanfare as other players, Hubbard is having a good training camp that should ensure he gets meaningful snaps this year, so long as he keeps it up in the preseason.

But don’t count out MJ

While Johnson’s replacement needs to be found, that’s not to say he won’t still have a big role on this team in 2018. In fact, he’s shown in camp that he’s still capable of making an impact rushing off the edge, even getting the better of Cordy Glenn at one point:

On this play, you’ll see Johnson get inside leverage on Glenn to pressure on Andy Dalton and force a high throw that gets intercepted. That’s what Johnson needs to keep doing to ensure he’s the second starting defensive end across from Carlos Dunlap this season.

While the team hopes to play Carl Lawson and Jordan Willis a lot more this year, Johnson is doing enough to keep getting meaningful snaps at both end and tackle.

What was your biggest takeaway from Day 10 of training camp?