Adam Jones is all football.
No one defines football more than Bengals cornerback Adam Jones. He loves to play, he knows how much it hurts when he can't, he's afraid of no one or any situation, and he always leaves it on the field,
Which is what he did Saturday before an estimated crowd of 1,800 on the Paul Brown Stadium practice fields, where he led the cornerbacks in an airtight workout that had defensive coordinator Paul Guenther grinning from hash mark to hash mark.
"We're a pressing team, but we can't press until tomorrow," said Guenther, noting the NFL offseason rule that prevents corners from jostling receivers at the line of scrimmage. "The fact we played good off coverage is a good sign because that's the minority of what we play."
Guenther has used Jones and Dre Kirkpatrick on the outside and Leon Hall in the slot with the first unit and Jones showed why in 7-on-7 when he made a leaping, juggling catch of Andy Dalton's pass over the middle intended for wide receiver A.J. Green.
"Pac was all over that route,' Guenther said.
Jones' assignment was to cover Green on a "dig," route, a deep ball over the middle that Green can come back on. Jones read it and jumped in front of it.
"I don't know if he over threw it or what, but I got up and under it," Jones said. "It was a good call and everyone was in good position."
Jones turns 32 late next month and he doesn't look or act nearly his age. He has spent the first two days bouncing around making plays while doing veteran leader things, such as urging on fellow West Virginia product Mario Alford and challenging tight end Tyler Eifert.
"Tyler and I are cool. We're always going at it, trying to make each other better," Jones said. "He's a heck of a player."
So is Jones. Last year he was not only their best corner, he was named to the All Pro team as a returner. For the second straight offseason he stayed around Cincinnati so he could work with Bengals strength and conditioning coach Chip Morton and this time he dropped about 5.5 pounds to put him at about 180 pounds or so.
Like 10 offensive and defensive starters and regulars, Jones' contract is up after this season. He's heading into his sixth year as a Bengal, far and away the longest he's been with any team in his nine seasons and he hopes it stays that way.
"Contracts take care of themselves. I can only control what I can control," he said. "There are some guys a little younger than me that need to get paid first. "I have a lovely relationship with this team," Jones said. "I don't want to go. Everyone knows that. Cincinnati's home to me. We'll see how it goes."
Jones has nearly 10 years on Alford, the rookie receiver the Bengals took in the seventh round, but that hasn't stopped him from getting to know him. He actually met Alford before West Virginia's 2014 season began and has been offering encouragement since.
Alford, one of the fastest players at this past offseason's NFL scouting combine, is learning how to catch punts, an art that Jones doesn't want to give up. But he has been counseling Alford and says he's pretty much there.
"He's got it. He just needs to keep his eye on the ball and not let them drift from it," Jones said.
"I think he has all the tools to be good. He just has to believe he can be good. He's got to play with confidence. I talk to him every day to keep his spirts up. He can really run. His speed is world class."
Jones has plenty of confidence for both of them. The only thing bigger than his heart is his confidence. Ask him if Alford is quicker than him coming out of Morgantown. After all, Jones was the sixth pick in the 2005 draft.
"Hell no. I'm faster than him right now for 30 yards," Jones said with a smile. "He's a 100-yard runner. Line him up right now."
It must be football season.
GENO's BACK: Proof that three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins is back in form: he virtually brought practice to a halt at various times Saturday by getting into the backfield so quickly that the offense couldn't get the play off. There were also a few times he affected the shotgun snap and that had Dalton growling about getting the snap right.
The offensive line's challenge was summed up in right guard Kevin Zeitler's question to offensive line coach Paul Alexander after one 11-on-11 session that tailed off into an unspoken answer: "So you've got a Geno bull rush and (a tackle/end) stunt…"
Hope for the best is all you can do. With 10-year left tackle Andrew Whitworth alternating days off and on, rookie Jake Fisher got the unenviable assignment of trying to pass block veterans Michael Johnson and Wallace Gilberry and it was a struggle. Throw in Atkins and…
"He's down in weight. He looks a lot stronger, a lot quicker," Guenther said. "When he plays well it opens up everything."
PAD LEVEL: The true measuring stick of Atkins' progress (and everyone else's for that matter), comes Monday when the Bengals hit in full pads. On Sunday (3 p.m. at the PBS practice fields), they'll go in shoulder pads to get tuned up and they'll have a live national television audience.
For the first time NFL Network is going live to a training camp practice and the Bengals radio voices, Dan Hoard and Dave Lapham, call the action with NFLN's Stacey Dales.
When the Bengals go live Monday, it sounds like they'll be doing it without the fabled Oklahoma Drill. Last year Lewis ditched it the day it was scheduled and it looks like won't make a comeback. But we'll probably see the half-line drill, which usually features three offensive linemen and a back against two down linemen and two linebackers.
PLAYER OF THE DAY: TE Tyler Eifert.
For the second straight day, Eifert lined up in all kinds of spots and caught the ball all over the yard. He caught five balls in the various 11-on-11 sessions and the last one showed how versatile he is. After lining up in the slot and on the outside, Eifert took his place as an in-line blocker next to Fisher, bolted off the line, and knifed between a safety and corner toward the sideline for what looked to be about a 12-yard gain off a nice throw from Dalton.
CO-PLAY OF THE DAY: We left it up to Guenther to decide between the practice's two interceptions, Jones' juggling pick or cornerback Darqueze Dennard's pick of AJ McCarron in 11-on-11. We should have known. Guenther couldn't pick one and went with both.
McCarron looked like he was the victim of uncertain route running where wide receiver Greg Little and tight end Jake Murphy looked too close together down the middle.
"Quez saw the route. He understood the route concept and came off of it," Guenther said. "He was right there. That's a heck of a play by the kid."
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Guenther, quite pleased, on Atkins:
"Geno is ruining practice."
SLANTS AND SCREENS: It wasn't a great day for offense, but there was some efficiency. Dalton didn't get much deep and McCarron had some ups and downs, but he's showing pretty good command of the offense. Dalton was efficient enough to complete 12 of 15 passes in 11-on-11, but missed two deep ones in seven-on-seven…
Two undrafted rookies looked like they had pretty good days, Wisconsin-Whitewater wide receiver Jake Kumerow, and Eastern Kentucky tight end Matt Lengel. He was running against air, but the 6-7 Lengel hauled in a high pass with one hand and you can imagine how high. The 6-4, 206-pound Kumerow looks a lot more comfortable and faster than he did in the spring and has corked off some nice route running the past few days. He's been paying attention to the big three of Green, Marvin Jones, and Mohamed Sanu.
"I watch the older guys. A.J., Marv and Mo,' Kumerow said. "Those guys have really helped me a lot. I watch them and I really appreciate what they do." …
Mike Nugent began his season six-for-six, making one from about 53 yards to end the series. It all began, of course from the distance of the new extra point, 33 yards. Special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons predicts the overall league PAT percentage is going to fall from the old 99 percent at 19 yards to 94 percent…