Camp Report: Offense Bounds Back

Tyler Boyd (middle) made this catch for a TD in seven-on-seven despite tight coverage by cornerback Tony McRae (left).
Tyler Boyd (middle) made this catch for a TD in seven-on-seven despite tight coverage by cornerback Tony McRae (left).

Head coach Zac Taylor moved up practice an hour and it allowed the Bengals to get in a crisp hour of work before weather shut down training camp Tuesday on the Paul Brown Stadium practice fields. Taylor took them off the field at about 3:15 p.m. and brought them back about 20 minutes later only to be stymied by some surprise lightning.

The Bengals then walked off into a walk-through while Taylor briefed the press on where they stand before Saturday's pre-season opener (8 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) in Kansas City. They've got one more practice, 3 p.m. Thursday on the PBS field, before they head to the Kingdom. With one scripted period left, Taylor figured they only missed out on somewhere between 20 and 30 plays.

"We got a good half a practice in. We got all of our special teams work done, some good individual fundamental stuff, good skelly period, moved the ball, so we saw some stuff," Taylor said. "We will have to bag these last two periods. We will finish with a walk-through inside, so we will still get some work out of it but it just won't be the full-speed work."

Running backs Joe Mixon (rest day) and Giovani Bernard (hamstring) didn't practice for what amounted to the second straight day and don't look for them Saturday. Certainly not Bernard and with the way Taylor has talked up Mixon and the commitment to the running game, Mixon figures to hardly play, if it all.

Look for a plethora of young backs running at the Chiefs, starting with sixth-rounder Trayveon Williams, as well as undrafted rookie Jordan Ellis and last year's practice squadder Quinton Flowers. The 5-10, 225-pound Ellis, out of Virginia, popped a fourth-and-one zone run for a touchdown working behind the No. 2 right side of tackle John Jerry, guard Christian Westerman and center Trey Hopkins. Jerry had spent the camp at No. 1 and No. 2 left guard before Tuesday's assignment.

"Gio and Joe, we just gave them the day off because those younger guys, they've got to be ready to play this first pre-season game, those young guys do, so they need all the work they can get," Taylor said.

Fourth-round pick Michael Jordan became the fourth left guard of camp to run with the first team and it marked a college reunion with Billy Price, his center at Ohio State. They didn't wait around to let him get his feet wet. On the second snap of team he found himself trying to reach perennial Pro Bowl tackle Geno Atkins on a Trayveon Williams sweep and Williams got some room.

"It was his turn today," Taylor said of Jordan. "We might have to extend that turn, probably Thursday, but today was his shot."

Joe Mixon (28) had a rest day while rookie Jordan Ellis (31) popped a fourth-and-one.
Joe Mixon (28) had a rest day while rookie Jordan Ellis (31) popped a fourth-and-one.

For the second straight day rookie quarterback Ryan Finley led the second offense and Taylor agreed that he looked more comfortable than he did on Monday. In his one team period Finley hit four of five passes.

Third-year wide receiver Josh Malone continues to enjoy the best stretch of his career. On Tuesday he again made a series of catches that won him praise from the head man. With John Ross (hamstring) still not cleared, Malone is going to get a load of work Saturday and may very well start in place of A.J. Green.

"I think Josh has been more consistent this fall than he was in the spring, to be quite honest with you," Taylor said. "You know, we tell those guys it's still early in camp. You're consistent now. You're making good impressions, but we're asking you to keep that up through these games and we can't see a drop-off. So there's a lot of competition at those receiver spots and those guys all know it."


QB Andy Dalton

Before the rains hit, Dalton was looking to rack up a big day. He hit all three passes in team and converted six of nine passes in seven-on-seven that included a five-yard dart on wide receiver Tyler Boyd's No 83 slanting in front of cornerback Tony McRae for a touchdown that capped a drive he hit six straight passes and converted three third downs. Dalton rebounded from his previous throw, a flag route where wide receiver Alex Erickson had a step on cornerback Tony Lippett but it was slightly overthrown.

Taylor didn't hide his disappointment Monday at the offense's performance and Tuesday showed someone's listening. They were much crisper and cleaner.

"Much sharper through those two periods so I thought they really did a good job in the compete period," Taylor said. "Nothing really stood out, there weren't any mistakes anyone made. Guys were pretty efficient. The defense did a good job stepping up on fourth-and-1, making a good stop there in one of those drives, but overall I think the offense did a good job … I think all these guys answered the bell. It was really only those two periods initially, but you know, proud of the way the guys responded today. That's what we expected to see."

Andy Dalton led the offense's rebound.
Andy Dalton led the offense's rebound.


Ellis converted on one fourth-and-one, but the defense stuffed the other one when linebacker Nick Vigil outfoxed Dalton. Dalton checked at the line on a play where Vigil sensed quarterback sneak. But when Dalton re-booted and no one blocked Vigil on the right edge, Vigil wasn't surprised when he and end Sum Hubbard ended up hugging wide receiver Auden Tate on a jet sweep just as Dalton handed it him.

"They've shown that before," Vigil said.


Bengals offensive line coach Jim Turner on why he recommended they draft Trayveon Williams after his line blocked for him at Texas A&M last season: "You're talking about a small back that was the leading rusher in the SEC. Small back in a brutal league, right? A guy that can take that pounding, carry the ball like he did, be the leading rusher in the SEC, that's a guy that's tested. You know what he's capable of doing. He's going to play hard, he's durable, he's going to block. And he's going to compete. Guaranteed."