A crowd of 1,500 showed up for the third day of Cincinnati Bengals training camp as the players donned pads for the first time.
Many in attendance were starting their evening with the practice before moving on to either the Reds-Phillies game at Great American Ball Park of the Cincinnati Music Festival inside Paul Brown Stadium.
Here are some observations from Day 3 of training camp:
Shorts and shoulder pads were the uniform of the day as the intensity ramped up, especially along the offensive and defensive lines.
“Now that we have pads on and you’re able to get physical, it changes everything,” left guard Clint Boling said. “It changes the mindset, and it’s real football. Even though we’re not in full pads, just to have the shoulder pads on changes things.”
The Bengals will wear full pads Sunday.
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It wasn’t just the players who seemed to have more energy due to the pads. The coaches were more vocal with their corrections and demands for tempo and precision.
“We had a little lull there in the middle of practice,” rookie center Billy Price said. “We kind of had a dip. Coaches had to jolt us a little to get us going and we finished up practice on a somewhat decent note but we can do better.”
In addition to more spirited 11-on-11 sessions in which there were more running plays than the first two days, the Bengals ran some half-line drills and a one-on-one set, where defensive tackle Geno Atkins made things look easy against whichever offensive lineman he faced.
“That dude’s been whipping my ass for 11 years,” said Boling, who also was college teammates with Atkins at Georgia. “I still haven’t figured out how to block him.”
A rough scorecard of the one-on-one session had the offensive players winning 10 of them, the defense winning eight and six draws.
An A.J. Green drop is something you don’t see every day. Saturday, fans saw it twice, although the first one was slightly misdirected by leaping linebacker Jordan Evans.
“I just barely tipped it,” Evan said. “I think it was enough to change the direction a little bit.”
Still, the ball hit Green in both hands. The second one came on a crossing route in the second set of 11s.
Of course, Green also caught several other passes and made a great reception on one where he boxed out rookie corner Darius Phillips, who appeared to be in perfect position for an interception.
On the heels of Friday’s final play when he wrestled Dre Kirkpatrick for possession for 30 seconds, wide receiver Alex Erickson made a number of plays early in the practice, where he laid out for a deep ball to beat the double coverage of Jessie Bates and Phillips. … The biggest hit of the day came on the first play of 11s when safety George Iloka tried to jump a Tyler Boyd slant and slammed into the receiver. Quarterback Andy Dalton saw it just in time and was able to squeeze the ball for a pump fake before throwing to Green in the flat. … Joe Mixon had the “wow” play of the day when he took a swing pass and beat everyone to the edge before outrunning linebacker Vinny Rey, who had an angle on him, to go the distance. … After three bad exchanges Thursday and an errant shotgun snap Friday, rookie center Billy Price had a no-snap issue Saturday, where everyone else on the offense went on the count while he was left holding the ball. It was one of two procedure penalties on the offensive line as guard Alex Redmond had a false start. … Only Randy Bullock kicked Saturday while Jonathan Brown watched. Bullock went 5 of 6 with his lone missing coming when he pushed his longest attempt of 48 yards wide right. … Carlos Dunlap’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, was at PBS, and the duo were seen chatting with Bengals owner and president Mike Brown before practice. Dunlap is looking for an extension as he heads into the final year of his contract.