With special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons running things while head coach Marvin Lewis deals with a “minor health issue,” the Cincinnati Bengals held their final full training camp practice open to the public Tuesday afternoon at Paul Brown Stadium.
Despite being in full pads for the second day in a row, there were no live sessions with full contact and tackling.
The Bengals will hold an abbreviated 45-minute walk-through Wednesday ahead of Friday’s preseason opener against Tampa Bay at PBS.
Here are some observations from Day 10 of Bengals training camp:
The second-team offense had a hard time getting anything accomplished during the second 11-on-11 drill of the practice, and the reason was Carl Lawson.
The rookie defensive end/linebacker got to quarterback AJ McCarron on five consecutive plays, the first four of which would have been sacks and the fifth could have been.
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On two of the first three plays, Lawson beat veteran tackle Eric Winston, prompting him to throw his helmet in disgust and then kick it.
Lawson has stood out since his first practice after the Bengals drafted him in the fourth round, and head coach Marvin Lewis said in his most recent press conference there will be no reins on the Auburn product when the games begin.
“He’s going to get unleashed,” Lewis said. “That’s what I told him again in the team meeting. He’s trying to be impressive. Well, he’s impressed me enough. He’ll continue to grow. He’s making a bit of a transition to playing on his feet in the base defenses. Making that transition and understanding the passing game is the biggest growth of playing linebacker. He’s doing a great job.”
Much like Lawson, rookie second-round running back Joe Mixon has been impressing since he arrived in town, and he did so again Tuesday on a play when he actually victimized Lawson.
On a running play designed to go right, Mixon stopped, reversed fields and beat Lawson, who had got sucked inside and lost contain, to the edge before out-running linebacker Brandon Bell for a long touchdown.
“You don’t coach certain things, and he made a play knowing the situation,” running backs coach Kyle Caskey said. “It was wide open, so he took it. He does have some instincts you can’t coach and you let him run with those instincts and try not to coach it out of him.”
Mixon celebrated his long touchdown by running along the ropes holding back the fans and slapping hands with many of them while repeatedly saying “Too easy, too easy.”
The Bengals released their first depth chart Tuesday , and it offered no surprises and little relevance. Point in case is the fact that Mixon, who has been the best back in camp thus far, is listed as the fourth tailback behind Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard and Cedric Peerman, who has yet to practice.
The Bengals rarely adhere to their depth chart, especially this early in the season. Pat Sims is listed as the starting defensive tackle next to Geno Atkins, but don’t be surprised if Andrew Billings starts the opener.
But there were some notable listings, with Mixon showing as the backup kick returner behind Alex Erickson and rookie defensive end Jordan Willis and Lawson sitting in front of veterans.
Kickers Randy Bullock and Jake Elliott were a combined 8 for 8 on Tuesday, making field goals of 38, 48, 43 and 45 yards. … Right tackle Andre Smith missed practice after leaving early Monday, while wide receiver Jake Kumerow, safety George Iloka, linebacker P.J. Dawson, cornerback Tony McRae and tight end C.J. Uzomah also sat out. … Pro Football Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz held court with the offensive line for about five minutes at the conclusion of practice. … Former Bengals tackle Willie Anderson also was present at practice. … For the second day in a row the first-team offense broke out a celebration after an Andy Dalton to Tyler Eifert touchdown. After shooting the ball through a hoop made of Dalton’s arms on Monday, Eifert ran a high-five gauntlet that Dalton set up featuring the other 10 players on offense. On the very next play, Dalton hit Eifert for another score. … In addition to being wrecked by Lawson in the second set of 11s, the second-team offense ended the first session in poor fashion with a fumbled exchange between McCarron and Mixon and a false start by rookie tight end Cethan Carter the final two plays of the drill.