Tyler Boyd wasted no time making an impact on his first NFL camp practice.
PLAYER OF THE DAY: Who else on the first day of training camp before a crowd of 1,350 at Paul Brown Stadium? Quarterback Andy Dalton, the defending AFC passing champion, looked as efficient as he did the play before he broke his thumb last Dec. 13 against Pittsburgh.
He completed 14 of 17 passes in 11-on-11, including the obligatory perfect-twitch-the-shoulder bomb to Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green. But maybe his most impressive throw was a naked bootleg to his left. After he squared up his shoulders he threw a bullet to rookie wide receiver Tyler Boyd over the middle.
Dalton did spend another week at Dr. Tom House's quarterback clinic in California during the five-week break before camp, but that's still pretty good on a first day usually reserved for rust. There have been first days the defense has annihilated the offense, but an AFC passing champion with the same scheme and 73 NFL starts can be lethal on a first day of camp.
And backup Andy Dalton wasn't chop liver. He was 12-for-17 in team drills and both were 7-for-8 in seven-on-seven, according to the stat book of Bengals elegant play-by-play man Dan Hoard.
"We've got two good quarterbacks who know how to run our offense and that means production," said wide receivers coach James Urban. "Andy was 14 of 17, but that probably means he did the right thing with the ball 16 of 17 times. That's six years in our system.
"I'm glad to glad to see him throw like that after he didn't finish the season with us," Urban said. "At least to my eye he looks like Andy."
PLAY OF THE DAY:** On the third snap of team rookie wide receiver Tyler Boyd wasted no time conjuring up images of the slot man he's supposed to replace, the versatile Mohamed Sanu.
It was supposed to be a run by Boyd off a reverse. After all, it was a run period. But both Boyd and veteran wide receiver Brandon Tate read each other's body language and turned it into Boyd's 80-yard soft-touch touchdown pass to Tate deep down the middle reminiscent of Sanu's 50-yard missile down the sideline to a diving Tate in a 2014 win over the Falcons at PBS.
Naturally, Sanu signed with the Falcons in the offseason, but it's a play that was shown regularly during the spring and most recently Friday morning when the Bengals went over it in the walk through before practice.
"I knew I could do it, but there were high expectations because Sanu did well," Boyd said. "He threw a dime against double coverage so I knew I had to get up to par. Big shoes to fill right there."
But, as Urban said, Boyd has been doing this his entire life as a three-way threat as a high school and college star in Pittsburgh.
"That's in his wheelhouse," Urban said.
It wasn't on the play sheet but as Boyd said, "B. Tate and I were on the same page.
"I knew it was a run period, but I don't think I caught the tag word that turned it into a run," said Boyd of the call in the huddle. "I saw him running down the field and I'm thinking, 'This is the way they want this play to work.'"
QUOTE OF THE DAY: WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who figures to be back next week after going on the non-football injury list to start camp, dismisses the notion he had a tough offseason because of the storm of criticism that descended on him after his final snap of last season.
"No. Why? I don't pay attention to what people say. Their name is not on my check. The names on my check are mine, Mr. (Mike) Brown's and the Bengals'. That's all I care about."
SLANTS AND SCREENS: The Bengals first three days of practices are in helmets and shorts. After 3 p.m. practices Saturday and Sunday, the Monday 3 p.m. practice debuts the pads. At that point, they can start evaluating people.
Until then, it's tough. But your eye could still be caught Friday. . .
When veteran Pat Sims and rookie Andrew Billings lined up together in the second group at defensive tackle, they couldn't be budged. .. And middle linebacker Rey Maualuga blew up one run play in the backfield with the help of alert line play . . .
As expected, Karlos Dansby lined up next to Maualuga at SAM backer and Vincent Rey filled in for Burfict at WILL. The second group featured Trevor Roach in the middle, third-rounder Nick Vigil at WILL and P.J. Dawson at SAM.
The second defensive line consisted of Margus Hunt, Sims, Marcus Hardison and Will Clarke from left end to right end. The No. 2 cornerbacks were Darqueze Dennard, who started in the slot, and Chris Lewis-Harris, with Josh Shaw and Derron Smith at safety.
But the second group also got interspersed with other backups . . .
Only cornerback Adam Jones and running back Giovani Bernard caught punts Friday . . .
It looks like cornerback Leon Hall is on the Chris Crocker Plan. If they need him, they'll go get him. That's the way it appears, anyway, when they finally gave up his corner locker to newly-signed safety Jimmy Wilson. Wilson can tell you why they signed him after Thursday's workout, more than two months after Kansas City cut him. He'd been with the Chiefs less than a month.
"They wanted to bring a veteran safety in here," Wilson said Friday before practice. "I guess I showed as a six- year pro some savvy and that something can happen on special teams."
Plus, he says the system is "similar," to the scheme he played in with the Dolphins from 2012-2014 under defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, again the Bengals secondary coach.
"Loved it," Wilson said. "Great coach. He helps you off the field as well as on the field."