The Cincinnati Bengals held their final full practice of training camp Wednesday, and the first one void of any fans.
After a walk-through Thursday, the Bengals will take Friday off and then face Kansas City on Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium. After that, the schedule shifts into regular-season mode, where media are kicked out of practice after 30 minutes.
That makes this final observation article from the 2017 training camp:
The kicker competition has been too close to call since the Bengals drafted Jake Elliott in the fifth round in April. But incumbent Randy Bullock slight’s lead grew considerably Wednesday when his went 4 for 4 while Elliott was 1 of 4.
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Bullock was good from 45, 53, 50 and 54 yards, while Elliott missed wide right from 45 and 53 before hitting from 50 and missing from 54.
On the 54-yarder — with Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis declaring “this is the game winner” with it being the final activity of practice — the Bengals coaches pulled out the icing trick where they blow the play dead before the kicker strikes the ball. Elliott went through with the kick and missed wide left. On the next try, the one that counted, he was wide right.
Bullock also missed from 50 when the coaches iced him, but he came back and hit the one that counted.
Heading into the Chiefs game Saturday night, this appears to be Bullock’s job to lose.
Third-string quarterback Jeff Driskel took the bulk of the snaps in the 11-on-11 sessions, which means he’s likely to do the same Saturday night against Kansas City.
Driskel played 35 snaps to Andy Dalton’s 13 and AJ McCarron’s 15 in Friday night’s opener against Tampa Bay. Following the script from past seasons, Dalton likely will be play two series against the Chiefs, with McCarron logging two to three and leaving the rest for Driskel.
One of the best plays Wednesday came on a perfectly placed throw from Driskel to Alonzo Russell deep down the left sideline. Driskel hit Russell in stride between cornerback Bene Benwikere and safety Shawn Williams.
The Bengals continue to get healthier with cornerback KeiVarae Russell returning and taking part in 11s after being in concussion protocol after the Tampa Bay game. Running back Tra Carson, who led the team with eight carries against the Buccaneers, also was a full participant after leaving early Monday with an ankle injury and only doing individual work Tuesday.
And safety George Iloka was limited for the second day in a row after missing two weeks with a hyper-extended knee.
The only players who missed practice were safety Cedric Thompson, linebacker P.J. Dawson (wrist) and wide receiver Cody Core (ankle). Rookie linebacker Carl Lawson (shoulder) was limited for the third day in a row.
Cornerback Darqueze Dennard had an interception for the second day in a row, picking off a Driskel on the final play of the second session off 11s. … Dre Kirkpatrick had back-to-back good plays in a 1-on-1 drill in the red zone, breaking up a Dalton pass to A.J. Green and then intercepting one against the same duo. … Dalton and Green hooked up later on a deep ball in 11s, although Russell had good coverage and appeared to pull up to avoid possible contact with the Pro Bowl wide receiver.