Most everyone knew by Tuesday evening that the Cincinnati Bengals’ were having offensive troubles through the first handful of training camp practices.
When Wednesday morning came around, it became one of the hottest topics on NFL Twitter.
Reports of Cincinnati’s offensive line struggling, to Ja’Marr Chase and the receiving corps not getting open consistently, to Joe Burrow being “iffy” on his recovering left knee sent the online football world into a frenzy.
Training camp. Am I right?
Head coach Zac Taylor doesn’t make decisions based on what the internet is yelling about, but he did give Burrow the day off. It’s a part of his quarterback’s on-going rehab schedule that still has weeks left to go before the regular season starts. Burrow watched Wednesday’s practice in shorts and a bucket hat as Brandon Allen led the 1s on offense to a more stable session against the team’s emerging defense. Riley Reiff watched as well, but Taylor said he should be good to return sooner rather than later.
Things started off hot for Allen. He reportedly hit Tee Higgins and Chase on a couple of deep balls in the beginning of practice. The Bengals’ Twitter account showcased the contested nature of Chase’s downfield reception.
On the Bayou or Ohio, same Ja'Marr. 1️⃣ pic.twitter.com/5OdY5FSNsk— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) August 4, 2021
Before practice began, Taylor mentioned that the offense’s perceived struggles can partially be attributed to the fact that they haven’t been given free rein to open up the offense yet. Install was still the primary focus for the first few practices, which has given the defense an inherent advantage.
It’s hard to tell if things were much different from a more low-key session on Wednesday, but without Burrow under center, it’s just difficult to tell anything at all.
What we do know is that despite the deep balls to Higgins and Chase, the cornerbacks continued to play well along with Trey Hendrickson, who continued to rack up points in the imaginary box score.
Trey Hendrickson gets a sack and a pass deflection on consecutive snaps.— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) August 4, 2021
Vonn Bell got in on some action during red zone drills as well. Here he is getting in the way of a late throw from Allen to Chase.
Speaking of Chase, the fact that he’s out on the field working with his fellow starters should be viewed as a monumental plus. For as much as Bengals fans like to bring up past first-round failures, Chase not only looks the part of a top-five pick thus far, he hasn’t missed any time and is right where he needs to be. Bengals play-by-play man Dan Hoard took note of how Chase has consistently been putting in post-practice work throughout camp.
Five observations from Day 7 of #Bengals training camp:— Dan Hoard (@Dan_Hoard) August 4, 2021
1. Ja’Marr Chase catches passes off of a jugs machine after every practice (in this case while kneeling). I don’t recall seeing so many players doing extra work after practice at a previous training camp pic.twitter.com/jwwtZHSQt4
In kicker news, Austin Siebert got the field goal duties and hit seven of his eight attempts. As of now, it doesn’t seem like Siebert or Evan McPherson have done much better or worse than the other. If all things are equal, logic points to McPherson getting the job he was drafted to take. But having two good kickers in camp is better than having just one.
If it needs to be said, things could be a lot worse at this time of year. If any fanbase knows this, it’s this one. The team gets Thursday off before working through the weekend. We’ll check back in on Friday.