Cincinnati Bengals: A Weekend at Camp


Jul 26, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) calls out plays to his teammates during training camp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 Super Bowl campaign for the Cincinnati Bengals kicked off this weekend with training camp from Paul Brown Stadium. With plenty to talk about and plenty of sunshine, the 2015 Bengals did not miss a beat. “We’ve got a great group of guys and it’s about pushing everyone to be their best. I want to push myself to be my best” said 5th year quarterback Andy Dalton, heading into Saturday’s camp.

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Saturday marked the first real action for all of the players since coming back for football in 2015. This includes Marvin Jones and Tyler Eifert who both missed all of 2014, the only exception being Eifert who was injured in the first quarter of the week 1 game at Baltimore. “I feel healthy, strong, in-shape and ready to go,” said Eifert to Dan Hoard before Saturday’s practice. Eifert has looked strong, physical and so far is off to a great start of his 2015 training camp.

As for Marvin Jones, Jones has also been very impressive so far. Jones has had no problems laying out for passes, and seems to be picking up where he left off before an ankle/foot injury sidelined him the entire 2014 season.

The receiver corps for the Cincinnati Bengals, at least one weekend into training camp, looks sharp. AJ Green is reminding the NFL that he is A) one of the best receivers in the game and B) is back. Green caught the injury bug throughout the 2014 season, and immediately was dubbed as maybe not as good as we thought, by the national media.

Let’s not forget, Green averaged over 15 yards per catch in 2014, and was over 1,000 yards, playing in only 12 games (he started the Atlanta game, but took himself out very early in the game with foot pain). Green looked extra crisp Sunday, when matched up against Adam Jones. What made everything even more special, was Green caught one over his shoulder along the sideline and juked past Jones for the touchdown. Sunday was also the first day DBs were allowed to hand check receivers, which added an extra degree of difficulty. Not a chance for the All-Pro wideout as he zig-zagged his way through defenders and caught nearly everything thrown his way at camp.

Most impressive so far, is the defensive line. Geno Atkins looks like, well, Geno Atkins. He has been flying off the ball, getting push against offensive linemen, and getting to the quarterback. He no longer looks like a guy protecting an injury, he looks like a man who is ready to show why he is an All-Pro defensive tackle. Not just Atkins though, the whole defensive line looks good. Devon Still has trimmed down about 25lbs, looks leaner, and had a sack on Saturday. Second year all iron man out of West Virginia, Will Clarke, who ironically wears Michael Johnson’s old number, 93, looks very similar to Michael Johnson when he first came into the league.

As for Johnson, a scary moment occurred on Sunday at training camp as the newly signed pass rusher left the practice field on a cart. Johnson is thought to have a sprained MCL, and Head Coach Marvin Lewis states that Johnson will be okay. So far, this appears to be the only notable injury, and if that holds true, a sprained MCL might be dodging a bullet.

Lastly, is the play of the quarterback during camp. For everyone who hopes AJ McCarron can show enough to unseat 5th year starter Andy Dalton, that thought process might be a little premature. So far, McCarron has had to shake the rust off of not being on a football field for a year. McCarron, the former 5th round pick, is noticeably holding the ball too long and is out of sync with his receivers. This is to be expected though, one week into his first camp. As for Dalton, he looks like the usual Dalton. Crisp, effective, calls out coverage, makes a great read, great throw, and then throws a terrible interception.