Notebook: Skill Development, Situational Work Wrap Up At OTAs

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It was a picture perfect morning for the Bengals to close the third and final phase of organized team activities. With mandatory minicamp set for next week, head coach Zac Taylor and his staff utilized the OTAs to focus on skill development and situational execution with game-like conditions. 

OTA STANDOUTS: Coaches usually take OTA practices with a grain of salt because there is no hitting and the players are in shorts and t-shirts. However, it was hard to not notice a few Bengals stand out.

Taylor pointed out to the media earlier in the week that cornerback B.W. Webb and wide receiver Hunter Sharp impressed because of their knowledge, attention to detail and ability to make plays. Fellow wide receiver Alex Erickson continued to be a reliable presence and defensive back Demetrious Cox also took steps forward in camp.

View some of the top photos from the Bengals Organized Team Activities from Paul Brown Stadium.

SITUATIONAL EXCELLENCE: After starting off the workouts in various position drills during OTAs, the team worked on various in-game situations. Everything from first and 10 to third and short was worked on as the offense and defense clashed.

The purpose of this phase for the coaching staff is two-fold. First, the staff is still implementing the playbook and language, helping the players understand the concepts. Second, the situations are assisting with player evaluation.

“I think we talk about that stuff every day,” said Taylor. “Right now we are getting good reps. Regardless of the unit guys are working with everyone is getting about the same amount of reps right now. We talk about moving guys around, but we evaluate it every single day. If a guy is making a big jump and a guy is moving down, we won't hesitate to move them.”

TALKIN’ THE TALK: As the early phases of the offseason draw to a close, it seems as if the communication among the defense has taken form. With a brand new staff, new schemes and concepts are thrust onto the defensive players. 

As the OTAs proceeded, there were noticeable improvements in communication on both sides of the ball. Every break of the huddle by the offense was met with constant chatter and communication by each player of the defense. The coaches continue to be hands on ensuring everyone is on the same page and in the right spot.

TRENDY VISORS: One trend that has developed this offseason is the inclusion of more visors by the offensive line. Tackle Bobby Hart was the only one last year to wear the facemask visor, but this year he has some company.

Center Billy Price, along with fellow linemen John Miller and Keaton Sutherland rocked the visor look in the last week of OTAs. For some, the visor helps with vision and keeping objects like fingers and dirt out of their eyes. For others, it’s just a cool look.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame traces the history of the tinted visor back to 1988 with Minnesota Vikings guard Randall McDaniel. A decade later, running back Ricky Williams made the dark visor famous by wearing it during games and during his interviews afterward.

NEXT UP: The Bengals will begin a three-day mandatory minicamp from June 11-13. After that, there’s a six-week break before training camp begins in late-July.

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