Sports Today: Positives abound in Cincinnati Bengals first weekend of training camp

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton directs teammates during NFL football training camp, Saturday, July 29, 2017, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton directs teammates during NFL football training camp, Saturday, July 29, 2017, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The Cincinnati Bengals got going over the weekend down on the riverfront and…. so far, so good.

On offense, the big story was thought to be Tyler Eifert and John Ross getting clean bills of health.

Then everyone saw Giovani Bernard looking like, well, Giovani Bernard despite having ACL surgery less than eight months ago.

RELATED: Bernard jokes he has two bionic knees

This is a huge development for a team with a very wide gap between ceiling and floor heading into the 2017 season.

When everyone is there (recently injured Eifert, Ross, Bernard and A.J. Green) and playing up to their potential (Jeremy Hill, Joe Mixon, the young offensive tackles), this offense could be one of the best in the league.

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During offseason work, there were questions about the readiness of Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher (the aforementioned tackles), the availability of Ross, Eifert and Bernard and the progression of Hill (who hasn’t looked the same since his rookie season).

Lots of potential — to fly high or fall flat.

ExploreOBSERVATIONS from Day 3 of Bengals training camp

So, obviously it’s just a couple of days (not yet full contact), but just having everyone available isn’t something to take for granted…

Of course, if you’ve been paying attention much around here, you might know I’m more worried about the defense.

They had a poor first half of the season but finished on the upswing (Not having to play the Cowboys, Patriots and Redskins in the second half helped), and now coordinator Paul Guenther is hoping to continue that upward trajectory.

RELATED: Bengals D determined to start quicker in 2017 

The Bengals added a handful of younger, faster players (though none in the first two rounds of the draft), and they will in essence add two first-round talents if Williams Jackson and Darqueze Dennard are healthy all year.

RELATED: Dennard hoping to show what he can do at full strength

Will it be enough to push them back into the upper echelon of the league’s defenses?

I doubt it, but we’ll see…

In other news, high school football practice begins today

There’s nothing quite like getting back on the field after that long break, and of course we’ve got a lot of area teams with very high hopes for 2017 and a huge group of area players who are on the radars of Division I colleges.

Antwuan Johnson, a linebacker from Wayne who played at Dunbar last season, became the latest area player to commit when he chose Bowling Green over the weekend.

💯🤘🏾 @iam_ray22 you ready cuz 👀👀— Twuano💉💯💪🏾 (@Antwuan21) July 29, 2017

Johnson originally committed to Michigan before reopening his recruitment last year.

New teammate Alex Reigelsperger is headed to Kentucky while Warriors receiver Blue Smith is set to announce his choice at the end of the month.

Trotwood-Madison running back Ra’veion Hargrove is also headed to Bowling Green in 2018...

The Cincinnati Reds are still playing. Not only that, they won a game yesterday.

If you don’t believe me, I don’t blame you, but it was actually an interesting result since Luis Castillo out-dueled Dan Straily for the win.

I have no idea what the Marlins were thinking when they agreed to send Castillo, a young fire-baller, to the Reds for Straily, the type of solid contributor that is much easier to find…

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