Michael Jordan’s rookie year was rocky to say the least.
To be fair to the former Buckeye, 2019 was a struggle for just about anyone who wore a Bengals jersey, especially when it came to the offensive line. Between being a rookie, having a brand-new coaching staff, including a new offensive line coach in Jim Turner, and a knee injury suffered in Week 2, there were a lot of growing pains for Jordan. He did end the season on a good note, starting the final five games and helped the Bengals average 145.3 rushing yards per game over the final four weeks.
Now in Year 2, expectations are much higher for Jordan, who’s already making an impression in training camp. During Tuesday’s practice, the first day of fully-padded work, Jordan managed to pancake a guy who’s rarely ever been pancaked in Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins (who did eventually get some revenge).
LG Michael Jordan just pancaked Geno Atkins during one-on-one drills #Bengals— Tyler Dragon (@TheTylerDragon) August 18, 2020
Whoa. Mike Jordan just stonewalled Geno Atkins on a DL vs OL drill. Very impressive.— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) August 18, 2020
Blocking Atkins effectively is one thing, but to put him on the ground like that is something you just don’t see. The Bengals’ offensive line has usually been the one getting pushed around in recent years, so hearing Jordan pushed around a potential Hall of Famer is a great development.
Jordan did impress his teammates and coaches during the preseason last year, but he was one of the team’s worst blockers over the first five weeks, which could be attributed to a knee injury he suffered in Week 2 he attempted to play though in Weeks 4-5 but clearly wasn’t right and was eventually benched.
After returning to the starting lineup in Week 12, Jordan looked much more comfortable in his starting role at left guard.
mike jordan had a good day blocking in space. he had a few notable blocks after pulling, but i wanted to focus on just climbing to the 2nd level. this is good work considering how he's been in this area thus far. (he trips in the 3rd clip) pic.twitter.com/dvuKqCNzTl— john sheeran (@John__Sheeran) December 9, 2019
Jordan is now looking to beat out former first-round pick and Buckeyes teammate Billy Price for the starting left guard spot. While early, it looks like Jordan has a leg up in the competition.