It’s officially game week for the Bengals... preseason game week, that is.
The team returned to the practice fields Tuesday afternoon to begin preparations for Saturday’s exhibition against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now two weeks into camp, both sides of the ball are looking a bit more healthier than they did last week.
For starters, Quinton Spain was back out there at left guard after missing a few practices. Spain had been replaced by Michael Jordan and D’Ante Smith, and it was Smith backing up Spain on Tuesday.
Quinton Spain instead of D’Ante Smith taking first team reps at left guard during offensive installation today at #Bengals practice— Richard Skinner (@Local12Skinny) August 10, 2021
Trey Hendrickson also made his return Tuesday after dealing with a minor injury of his own last week. But like cornerback Trae Waynes, Hendrickson only participated during individual drills on his first day back.
As expected, Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson is back at practice today after watching for two days last week.— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) August 10, 2021
With Hendrickson limited, rookie Joseph Ossai continued seeing more reps with the starters.
No Trey Hendrickson in the team's move the ball drill. Those reps go to rookie Joseph Ossai— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) August 10, 2021
We had yet to see the Bengals’ defensive line at full strength up until today. The return of Larry Ogunjobi at defensive tackle was quickly felt as he won a rep against Michael Jordan at right guard for a would-be sack.
Larry Ogunjobi just blew past Michael Jordan in 11s…. Easy sack. Joe Burrow completed the pass to Higgins, but he would’ve been down long before he threw it— James Rapien (@JamesRapien) August 10, 2021
For the first time in a while, injuries are not dominating the headlines at camp for Cincinnati. Joe Burrow’s recovery has obviously been in the news, but he seems to be heating up, as is his new (and old) receiver, Ja’Marr Chase.
The 21-year old rookie has reportedly been a bit inconsistent since the start of camp. Chase looked quite alright on Tuesday, though.
Ja'Marr Chase getting some separation against Darius Phillips pic.twitter.com/uud0rR477r— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) August 10, 2021
2. I also thought it was Ja’Marr Chase’s best practice so far. Here he runs a great route to beat Chidobe Awuzie for a TD in a red zone 7-on-7 period pic.twitter.com/uI6gYSyC4J— Dan Hoard (@Dan_Hoard) August 10, 2021
While Chase has been finding his footing, Tee Higgins has hit the ground running and hasn’t slowed down. He’s been winning nearly every rep he’s had and continued to impress in the individual drills.
Tee Higgins hits Chidobe Awuzie with a slick double move in 1-on-1s pic.twitter.com/fLUT1v87Rl— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) August 10, 2021
Later on, Higgins miraculously didn’t come down with a deep ball and came up with a slight limp instead. Fortunately, just 10 minutes of stretching and rest was enough for him to get back on the field.
Tee Higgins got up gingerly after going to the ground for a ball in 7-on-7s pic.twitter.com/A7xpTz37A2— James Rapien (@JamesRapien) August 10, 2021
Higgins and the rest of the offense had another positive outing, which makes the struggles of the unit from last week seem like a distant memory. Chase, Higgins, and Tyler Boyd were all involved for an 11-play touchdown drive that was capped off with a Joe Mixon goal-line touchdown.
But the defense did have this Vonn Bell interception from earlier, so there’s that.
And finally, for your daily kicking update, Evan McPherson made five of his six field goal attempts on the day with his lone miss coming from 54 yards out.