Day 3 of Cincinnati Bengals training camp had a different look, and sound.
Here are three observations from the Sunday afternoon practice.
The Bengals put on their shoulder pads for the first time since the 2016 regular-season finale against Baltimore, and it didn’t take long for things to get physical.
On the first play of 11-on-11, linebacker Vontaze Burfict and defensive end Carlos Dunlap stopped running back Jeremy Hill and pushed him into the backfield, prompting head coach Marvin Lewis to yell at them to “let him drive.” On the next play, Burfict lowered his shoulder and popped running back Giovani Bernard, causing Lewis to have another conversation with him. Later in the practice, Burfict put running back Tra Carson on the ground.
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Safety Shawn Williams got in a shot on wide receiver Chris Brown while defending a pass, causing Burfict to run over to congratulate him.
“It’s another step, another phase to what you’re doing in football and you’re trying to make that progression, learning to play behind our pads and drop our knees and have good pad level,” said Lewis, who was as vocal as he’s been in the first three practices, expressing his frustration at times with the lack of tempo on both offense and defense and with players walking off the field after their taking their reps.
Sunday was shoulder pads and shorts. Monday is expected to be full pads.
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“The intensity will go up another notch, no question,” defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said. “At any time Marvin can say this is a live period and we’re taking it back to the ground. Right now we’re trying to keep the backs up and keep everybody healthy. But if the time comes when we go to a live drill, we’ll be ready to do it.”
Cincinnati Bengals safeties George Iloka and Derron Smith left the practice field on a cart Sunday, but defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said it doesn’t appear either injury was serious.
“I think they’re fine,” Guenther said. “I think it’s little minor stuff, typical twists and turns. That’s all.”
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Iloka went down after making a play on wide receiver Alex Erickson. He slammed his hand into the ground as soon as he fell and limped off. After being evaluated by trainers, Iloka watched from the sideline with ice on his right knee.
Smith went down about 20 minutes later, and trainers appeared to be checking his right foot. With only a few minutes left in practice, Smith and Iloka both left on a cart.
Rookie fifth-round kicker Jake Elliott got his first chance to attempt field goals during training camp, and special teams coach Darrin Simmons had a surprise for him.
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After Elliott and incumbent Randy Bullock each connected on field goals of 28 and 38 yards, tight ends coach Jonathan Hayes ran up behind Elliott and blew the whistle just as the kicker was preparing to boot a 33-yard attempt.
Elliott missed the kick but made the next one when the play wasn’t blown dead.
“We’re trying to distract them,” Simmons said. “But we want them to kick it (even if the timeout is called) so they get an extra rep, a warm-up kick.”
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Bullock knew the whistle was coming and made both of his attempts from 33. Both kickers also hit from 35.
So Bullock is 7 for 7 after two days of work, while Elliott is 3 for 3 and Jonathan Brown, who only kicked Saturday, is 2 for 3.
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