The last full-scale practice of training camp before Saturday's second pre-season game in Dallas (7 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) was a rainy day affair on the turf inside Paul Brown Stadium and during Wednesday's nearly two-hour long work it must have poured for half of it. It fittingly ended the wettest camp season in recent memory. Three of the 15 practices were moved to the stadium because of rain.
When it rains, it pours. Two of their stars got dinged, although indications were not seriously. Cornerback Will Jackson looked to jam a finger while covering rookie wide receiver Auden Tate and after getting it taped he went back in. For the second straight day, running back Joe Mixon didn't return to practice with an undisclosed ailment but apparently could have gone back if it was the regular season.
PLAYER OF THE DAY: Wide receiver Tyler Boyd
As if to offer a gentle reminder he was the player of training camp going into last week's pre-season opener, Boyd had a nice day sliding and sloshing with several catches in and out of the slot. His most impressive came in team when quarterback Andy Dalton fired over the middle and Boyd leaped while reaching over rookie cornerback Darius Phillips.
PLAY OF THE DAY: It wasn't a great day to make plays, but rookie safety Jessie Bates nearly made the kind of play defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has been harping on in his first season with the Bengals. During seven-on-seven, Bates had tight end Cethan Carter in front of him when he saw the ball tip off Carter's hands. Bates went diving for the ball and just missed the interception as he tried to pick the slick ball off the even slicker turf.
Of course, head coach Marvin Lewis may have given him a harsh reminder not to go to the ground when you think about another second-round corner. It's been 13 years since late in a Friday practice (back when they went hard on Fridays) during the 2005 regular season, safety Madieu Williams dove and suffered a season-ending shoulder injury that required surgery.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Anything and everything. Whatever gives you an edge." _ Bengals radio analyst Dave Lapham on drawing the defense offsides.
It's been a tough week getting a play off. On Tuesday there was some herky-jerkiness on both lines for false starts and offsides. And on Wednesday, thanks to the rain, there was a slew of fumbled quarterback-center exchanges. At one point, two rookies were paralyzing practice when quarterback Logan Woodside and center Brad Lundblade fumbled three straight. Dalton also had one with Billy Price and immediately went for towel.
Watching practice Tuesday got Lapham to thinking about he and quarterback Ken Anderson making life miserable for the gargantuan John Matuszak, one of the league's great characters. Once when they were playing the Raiders, Lapham noticed Matuszak was either artificially or naturally very pumped up.
"He had some issues. He was wired. He was just himself out there. He was himself plus whatever else he had. He was jumpy. He wanted to seek and destroy. I saw the look and I go back to Kenny and say, 'Go on the third hut, not the first. He could have figured that. Make him time up the snap count. He was definitely frustrated. It happens all the time, a receiver goes back and tells the quarterback how he can beat the coverage. There's always information being passed around. Anything and everything. Whatever gives you an edge."
Lapham knew he was frustrated because he could hear "The Tooz," groaning, "I'm doing this in front of God and everyone."
SLANTS AND SCREENS: Cornerback Tony McRae (ankle), nursing the injury since the first few days of camp , barged out early Wednesday but didn't practice the whole way …
Backup right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi and backup right guard Alex Redmond got to work a little bit with the ones and Ogbuehi worked some with starting right guard Trey Hopkins …
Wide receiver Cody Core (unknown ailment) missed a second straight practice. Linebacker Vincent Rey (ankle) surfaced in sweats, but still no sign of WILL backer Vontaze Burfict (foot). That means those young backers (rookies Malik Jefferson, Chris Worley, Junior Joseph and sophomore Hardy Nickerson are going to need some oxygen they'll be playing so much. Keep an eye on Nickerson and Joseph in the middle. Throw in Worley and which guy is going to get the last spot on the Opening Day roster.
Remember how their young backers struggled against Chicago and Minnesota when injuries crushed the position late in the season? Let's see how these guys hold up against one of the NFL's best running games.