After their first day off of training camp, the Cincinnati Bengals returned to the practice field for one more session before the pads come on.
Good news hit the wire in the morning as rookie defensive end Cameron Sample was activated off the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list. Drue Chrisman and Larry Ogunjobi remain on the PUP, but there’s hope for Ogunjobi to return shortly.
Unfortunately, other minor injuries began to pop up Monday afternoon, which is where we’ll start our practice recap from Day of Bengals training camp.
Cornerback Trae Waynes and offensive tackle Fred Johnson were in street clothes watching Monday’s practice. Head coach Zac Taylor that Waynes is dealing with a hamstring injury and Johnson a quad injury. Per Jay Morrison, Taylor said that both injuries will keep them out for a week at least.
Zac says slight hamstring for Waynes. Fred Johnson has a quad. Will be at least a week— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonATH) August 2, 2021
Waynes has looked solid in his first Cincinnati training camp. The former first-round pick missed all of last season with a pectoral injury he suffered during last year’s camp. It doesn’t sound like this injury is nearly as serious, though.
Johnson’s quad injury should impact the rotation at offensive tackle a bit. Rookie D’Ante Smith was seen working at left tackle during Saturday’s practice, so it’s reasonable to assume Johnson’s been spending time at right tackle. Isaiah Prince and Gunnar Vogel figure to see more reps during Johnson’s absence.
O-line rotation ensues
Sticking with the offensive line, rookie Jackson Carman was back with the starters at right guard for the first time since minicamp.
Jackson Carman takes the first snap of 11s today at right guard— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonATH) August 2, 2021
Michael Jordan was reportedly working at left guard with the starters as well, so Monday must’ve been an opportunity for o-line coach Frank Pollack to see how his young reserves work between his veteran starters.
This is still a good sign for Carman, though. Pollack and Taylor have both said they don’t plan on handing a starting spot to Carman without the second-round pick earning it first. We won’t truly see if Carman is making progress until the pads come on and the preseason starts.
Defensive playmaking continues
Cincinnati’s offense has received so much hype this offseason, it seems as if the unit on the other side of the ball took that personally.
The Bengals’ defense continues to turn heads in practice and caused multiple turnovers on the day, including this forced fumble on rookie Ja’Marr Chase.
Jessie Bates strips Ja’Marr Chase during a 7-on-7 period #Bengals pic.twitter.com/hsFV1T2Gjz— James Rapien (@JamesRapien) August 2, 2021
Ja’Marr Chase and Jacques Patrick each have been stripped after catches today. Jessie Bates got one, Jalen Davis the other. Davis recovered both.— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonATH) August 2, 2021
Markus Bailey reportedly forced a fumble of his own, and fellow linebacker Germaine Pratt got the best of Joe Burrow and intercepted him on a pass targeted for Chase.
Germaine Pratt intercepts a ball intended for Ja’Marr Chase during 11-on-11 #Bengals pic.twitter.com/JjgNjEOKlV— James Rapien (@JamesRapien) August 2, 2021
The early connections between Burrow and Chase and Tee Higgins have been far from perfect, so it’s encouraging to see the trio stay after practice and work on some deep routes.
Joe Burrow spent an extra 5-7 minutes after practice working on deep balls with Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. #Bengals pic.twitter.com/HyhstEbov1— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) August 2, 2021
The hype with this offense is very real, but it stems from a lot of projection. Chase is a 21-year-old rookie, and Higgins and Burrow are both coming off of injury-ladened rookie seasons. Rust isn’t something to freak out over just yet.
At the same time, the defense truly does look to be clicking right now, and they’ve got to be excited to finally begin hitting their teammates on Tuesday.