PLAYERS OF THE DAY: For the first time in what we think is forever, we give it to not only three players, but three former players. It's not every day three-fifths of the Bengals All-50th offensive line shows up at the same practice. But there was Hall-of-Fame left tackle Anthony Munoz along with his Super Bowl guard Dave Lapham and four-time Pro Bowl right tackle Willie Anderson.
Lapham and Munoz live in Cincinnati and both analyze Bengals on the air, so it's not a rarity to see them together. But we got a solar eclipse when Anderson arrived from Atlanta, where he runs his burgeoning offensive line academy.
Small world. He came to Cincinnati to work with the nation's top-rated high school tackle, Jackson Carman of Fairfield, as well as a slew from St. Xavier, thanks to the nephew of Floyd Walker, a friend from his Bengals days. So to kill time and a few birds, he came to practice to help the kid tackles Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher.
The kids got a kick out of it and so did Anderson.
"Of course," said Anderson when asked if they're ready. "That's the good thing about it. At some point you go full tilt, put yourself in the fire. I don't see anything in their eyes that says they don't think they're prepared. I think they think they're prepared. That's half the battle. You have to believe in yourself, in your technique, and keep doing it every day until it's a habit."
But, if you can believe it, it's the first time Anderson has talked football so extensively with Munoz, the greatest who ever lived. They've talked about everything else it seems. Family. Cities. Life. But both are extremely good at teaching young linemen and it was quite a sight to watch the two best tackles in Bengals history move their feet in unison.
By the end of practice they had exchanged phone numbers and were trying to set up a date to talk. Anderson, a social media maven, pulled out his phone to ask Munoz how he blocked Lawrence Taylor while he filmed.
"If you've got a question, why not ask that man right there? I mean, there he is," Anderson said. "The thing about Anthony is that even though he hasn't played (in 25 years), he's been around the game. He had a son play the position, he's gone to coaching clinics, he goes to camps. It's kind of the same thing. I can't coach kids the way I played.
Munoz, analyzing the opener against Tampa Bay Friday (7:30-Cincinnati's Channel 12), went for the motivational speech to the O-line after practice, but is anxious to see the kid tackles play.
"It's tough to tell out here," Munoz said. "You know they're athletic. Great feet, long arms. You can tell that when they first got here. Now it's a chance to display it."
PLAY OF THE DAY: The offense had their way most of the day as the tight ends ruled the red zone in the fully padded practice. Tyler Eifert scored three times and Tyler Kroft two, one from 6 on a great route and even better throw by A.J. McCarron. The Bengals' best cover backer, Vontaze Burfict, was all over him across the middle and Kroft managed to yank it away from him.
By the way, Kroft has had a terrific camp in his third season. It was about this time last year he sprained his MCL and it set him back a bit and he never quite regained the form of his encouraging rookie year. Now he looks to be back.
"I feel great," Kroft said. "I was 240 as a rookie, now I'm at 260 and I feel like I'm moving well."
Other big plays: Burfict had another big hit on running back Giovani Bernard, right in the target zone they need to hit for "a thump." Running back Joe Mixon popped KeiVarae Russell and sent him backward on a run up the middle.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Darrin Simmons on pinch-hitting for head coach Marvin Lewis: "I'm just a fill in. I'm just the fill in for the day. It's obviously an honor that the Brown family thinks of me in this situation, but obviously the biggest one is Coach Lewis. Hopefully he can get healthy as fast as he can. Obviously our first thought is with him."
Cincinnati Bengals host Training Camp at Paul Brown Stadium Practice Fields 8/8/2017