The helmets and shells were put on together for the first time today as Bengals training camp has officially been kicked into high gear.
Today was also the first day that local media was permitted to observe practice. Instead of being on the sidelines of the main practice field where they normally would be, they were stationed behind the North end zone on a raised platform—masked and socially distant from their peers.
The media is limited to this long, raised platform with spacing for social distancing and masks required. pic.twitter.com/Xkn26tqS78— Laurel Pfahler (@LaurelPfahler) August 17, 2020
Here is what they saw and proceeded to tweet out.
We’ve been so accustomed to seeing slow-mo clips of Joe Burrow throws. So we’ll just leave all these here.
Joe Burrow slinging out to Joe Mixon. pic.twitter.com/fulFiR5DPh— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) August 17, 2020
Joe Burrow with a quick throw over the middle to A.J. Green pic.twitter.com/7FvQvmUbuT— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) August 17, 2020
It’s safe to say the new merchandise is looking good. How about the guys he’s throwing to?
New face at wide receiver
As we learned last week, John Ross has left the team to help treat his family dealing with COVID-19 and has since been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. In his place today was free agent signee Mike Thomas.
Mike Thomas lining up at that other WR spot with Ross and Higgins out— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) August 17, 2020
Thomas’ opportunity was also helped by Tee Higgins still nursing his injury that we learned about last week.
Expectations meet reality along offensive line
The Bengals signed Xavier Su’a-Filo to start at right guard and kept Bobby Hart to see if he can retain his spot at right tackle. Today, both were starting at their respective positions.
That is a much bigger Oline out there with Xavier at RG and big Mike Jordan looking even bigger and in great shape at LG. Jonah and Hart the Tackles.— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) August 17, 2020
The right tackle spot could be a fluid situation with Fred Johnson vying for starting reps, but the job still seems to be Hart’s to lose.
Latest on linebackers
When the team began 11-on-11 work, the two starting linebackers were free agent signee Josh Bynes and last year’s third-round pick Germaine Pratt.
First snap of 11. Bynes and Pratt at backer. Phillips at corner for Waynes but rotation is on— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) August 17, 2020
Like the right side of the offensive line, these two getting the first looks as the starters were to be expected. The rookie trio of Logan Wilson, Akeem Davis-Gaither, and Markus Bailey were all participating during practice.
As Bengals.com senior writer Geoff Hobson mentioned, Darius Phillips was in for Trae Waynes, who recently underwent surgery according to head coach Zac Taylor.
Zac Taylor confirmed Trae Waynes had surgery.— Lindsay Patterson (@LndsPatterson) August 17, 2020
Alex Erickson, Darius Phillips and Tyler Boyd are the ones taking punt return reps during special teams work.— Marisa Contipelli (@BengalsMarisa) August 17, 2020
Vonn Bell has been involved in many of the special teams reps. Didn’t realize he was on the field for 19% of the Saints special teams snaps last year— Dan Hoard (@Dan_Hoard) August 17, 2020
Four players on the active roster did not practice today. Bryce Sterk, who was recently claimed on waivers, does not count against the 80-man roster yet due to COVID-19 testing protocols, and Ross and Khalid Kareem being on the Reserve/COVID list means he’s exempt from the roster count as well. Kareem was placed on the NFI list not too long ago.
Higgins, Rodney Anderson, Alex Redmond, and Waynes all did not practice. Anderson was originally placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list and has not been taken off of it yet. Redmond remains on the NFI list.
#Bengals not participating today: RB Rodney Anderson, WR Tee Higgins (on side), OL Alex Redmond, CB Trae Waynes (torn pec), DL Bryce Sterk (testing protocol exemption), DL Khalid Kareem, WR John Ross (COVID-reserve).— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) August 17, 2020
A.J. Green was practicing for most of the day but was later seen stretching on the sidelines with trainers. It appeared as if he tweaked his left hamstring and did not return onto the field for the remainder of the day.
A.J. Green not in for this set of 11s. Was getting left hamstring looked at and stretched after last set of 7 on 7.— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonATH) August 17, 2020
He’s still on field. No ice. But appears done for the day. #Bengals
Taylor later said that keeping Green off the field was for precautionary reasons and not because he suffered any sort of serious injury.
Zac Taylor calls AJ Green tweak: "Precautionary." Says he felt pretty good. "I just told him he's done taking reps for the day. We'll see how he feels tomorrow."— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) August 17, 2020
As for Renell Wren, he seemed to have actually suffered a serious injury.
Wren went down to the ground after a play and a cart was immediately brought out for him.
Wren is getting carted off the field.— Tyler Dragon (@TheTylerDragon) August 17, 2020
It’s unclear what Wren’s injury is at the moment, but we can only hope it isn’t too serious.