The Cincinnati Bengals began their mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, and a couple of young receivers have made impressive plays deep down the field.
The Cincinnati Bengals began mandatory minicamp this week, and it seems that some of the young wide receivers are having impressive days. It comes to no surprise that second-year wide receiver John Ross impresses as he has been one of the biggest headlines out of camp this offseason. Another receiver trying to make some big plays is Josh Malone, who spent much of OTA’s on a pedal bike nursing an injury.
Malone is another young receiver that has untapped potential and looking to battle for one of the starting wide receiver roles. While John Ross and Tyler Boyd likely lead the pack for the starting spots opposite of A.J. Green, Malone is working hard to unseat one of them. Another receiver that Malone will have to surpass is veteran Brandon LaFell who is 34, but entering one of his last seasons in the league and could be trying to prove in a contract season that he’s still worth having around.
Ross and Malone each caught passes deep down the field, and it sounds like Malone was working out of the slot quite a bit catching passes over the middle. He started in only seven games last season and brought in a minimal six catches for 63 yards and a touchdown. He’s expressed the desire to be more a part of the offense in 2018 and after missing times in OTA’s, having big plays in minicamp is a good start at getting that opportunity.
Fans have heard all season about Ross’ offseason working hard with other receivers and former Bengals receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. He was consistently turning heads in OTA’s the last few weeks. Coaches and players have all talked about the improvement they’ve seen this offseason. After a disastrous rookie season, Ross looks to change fans minds as many have already written him off.
If Cincinnati can get more verticle with players like Ross, Malone, and Boyd in the receiving core, it could open up the entire offense. The offensive line was a significant part of the offense ranking last in the league in 2017 for yards per game, but it wasn’t the only issue. There is still a great deal of work to do before we get too excited, but hearing young players are making plays in camp is a good sign.