Observations from Bengals training camp Day 9


The Cincinnati Bengals were in full pads for practice Monday afternoon, but they only ran a handful of goal-line plays of live action with tackling despite the preseason opener being just a few days away.

The team will hold a full practice open to the public Tuesday and a brief, public walk-through on Wednesday ahead of Friday night’s home game against Tampa Bay.

Here are some observations from Day 9 of Bengals training camp:

Uzomah injured

Tight end C.J. Uzomah left practice on a cart after injuring his left leg while blocking in a 9-on-9 drill about 30 minutes into the practice.

Uzomah was unable to put any weight on his left left and needed help getting to the cart.

A fifth-round pick out of Auburn in 2015, Uzomah caught just one pass for 4 yards as a rookie but played a much larger role last year with 25 receptions for 234 yards and a touchdown.

›› RELATED: Observations from Bengals intrasquad scrimmage

Offensive lineman Andre Smith didn’t leave practice early but was seen standing without his helmet and watching while Trey Hopkins played right guard with the first team for the second half of practice.

Backup center T.J. Johnson returned after missing four practices, while defensive end David Dean and wide receiver Chris Brown also returned. Rookie defensive end Jordan Willis and rookie offensive lineman J.J. Dielman missed their first practices of camp.

Corner competition

With a starting spot in the opener up for grabs due to the Adam Jones suspension, cornerbacks Darqueze Dennard and William Jackson took turns impressing the coaches with solid plays.

Jackson broke up a deep pass from Andy Dalton to Cody Core early in the first 11-on-11 session, and two snaps later Dennard ripped the ball from tight end Cethan Carter on what could have been ruled an incompletion or forced fumble.

›› MORE: Newly acquired Bengal making case for roster spot

On the first play of the next set of 11s, Dennard had a PBU of a Dalton pass to Tyler Boyd, and a few snaps later Jackson beat Alonzo Russell to the spot on a slant to break up a pass from AJ McCarron. The game of “top this” continued two plays later when Dennard recorded a PBU on a pass attempt from McCarron to Joe Mixon. And then two snaps after that Jackson broke up a deep ball from Dalton to Core.

Dennard capped the day with the biggest play when he intercepted a Dalton pass on a two-point play and returned it for what would have been a score, although Jones made it happen by deflecting the ball away from Brandon LaFell.

11 in 11s

Speaking of LaFell, his strong camp continued with a handful of big plays, two of which came on back-to-back snaps in a red-zone drill. On the first play, he made a leaping catch for a touchdown. And on the second he fought off cornerback KeiVarae Russell and wrestled the ball away for another score.

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LaFell also gave a few fans an experience to remember when early in the practice he played catch with a few youngsters between reps during position drills.

Quick kicks

In a situational drill late in practice, the Bengals put 22 seconds on the clock and Dalton hit Boyd on a short pass. Boyd went to the turf and the field-goal unit ran on to try to get the kick off with special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons counting down the time. Clark Harris got the snap off with three seconds to go, and rookie Jake Elliott drilled a 35-yarder.

›› MORE: Bengals special teams coach staying calm as raw rookies struggle

Elliott and Randy Bullock took turns on standard kicks with the clock stopped after that, with both kickers connecting from 33 and 40 yards, while Bullock added a 30-yarder.

Quick hits

Other notable plays included, once again, Mixon, who showed his explosiveness when he took a shovel pass from McCarron and picked up 20 yards before anyone got close enough to touch him. … Tyler Kroft made the catch of the day with a leaping touchdown snag of a Dalton rocket during red-zone work. … And the first touchdown celebration of camp took place when Dalton hit Eifert for a short score then made his arms into a hoop as Eifert shot and scored from about 10 feet away, prompting a high-stepping, fist-pumping reaction from Dalton. … A slight, pushing-and-shoving skirmish ensued during the live-tackling drill in goal-line work when center Alex Redmond mixed it up with a few defensive players after Kevin Minter tackled Mixon shy of the end zone.

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