Randy Bullock: Bengals won't look over his shoulder.
Even though rookie Jake Elliott is on the practice squad, special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons says Randy Bullock has no one looking over his shoulder for the kicking job.
"It's Randy's job. Randy won the job. So there's none of that," Simmons said before Monday's practice
That's exactly what Bullock has been told. The competition is over.
"I was told I won the job and I was the guy, it was my show, just keep rolling, so that's the mindset I have and we're all on the same page," Bullock said. "It was a great feeling. It was kind of what I expected, what I hoped. I felt I'd earned it, and that's what they told me."
A visual look at the 2017 Bengals roster.
And that's how the reps will work out.
"This is Randy's deal. Randy won the job in the preseason, so this is Randy's deal," Simmons said. "I haven't lost confidence in Jake. Sometimes you go through stretches like that. He didn't finish the preseason like he needed to win the job, so that's why we went with Randy. And Randy earned that spot. Like I said, whichever guy we decide on will have earned the job."
But Elliott plans to get some work and the work he'll be able to get in practice is like nothing he would have got in the park back home.
"You can't really compare it," Elliott said. "Being back home and not having facilities to train at and being able to get a rhythm with the snapper and holder, which you wouldn't be able to do if you were on the streets. I'm thankful for the opportunity."
Clubs shy away from keeping kickers on the practice squad because a) it takes the spot away from an every-down player, b) there are plenty of kickers on the street, and c) players on the practice squad are free to sign with any team willing to put them on the active roster for three weeks. So the Bengals may be warming up Elliott for another club.
"I think it speaks volumes that they're still confident me and want me to stay active," Elliott said. "It's great of them to do, as far as giving me an opportunity for other teams around the league to know that I'm on call as well."
The deed had been probably sealed before last Thursday night's final curious five minutes, when both Bullock and Elliott missed winners, in part, because of poor operation. Elliott's 41-yarder was washed out because of a false start and the 46-yarder hooked. Bullock missed a 47-yarder when the timing was screwed up. Then when Elliott barely missed again at the gun what would been his longest field goal of 60 yards, Simmons' script had gone completely awry.
Darrin Simmons ended up with both kickers.
"It was out of character for both of them. We have a penalty. False start. Guy jumps. Jake has to re-focus, turn around and make the next one," Simmons said. "It's a good opportunity for him to get re-set on a couple of occasions. We thought we were out of it and then our defense gets a stop, the offense gets back in position, we had a chance, even after the other two plays, for Jake to hit the 60- yarder and put the game away. A lot of situations to learn from."
When Bullock arrived with three games left last season, his only miss in six tries was the Christmas Eve winner at the gun that sailed right from 43 yards. His only miss in seven pre-season tries this summer was that last one from 47 with just under two minutes left.
Simmons has no qualms going back to him.
"On both of those plays the operation wasn't what it was supposed be. The snap. The hold," Simmons said. "The timing got messed up. I still expect them to make those kicks. Any deviation of what the norm is, there's a tendency to break concentration. I don't know if it did that in those two situations. Do I fear having him in those spots? No I do not."
Two weeks ago when everyone was rolling, Simmons said he thought the loser of the derby would be in the NFL. Elliott got cut and didn't get claimed on waivers and while Simmons said he was surprised "a little bit," he also observed, "But he messed up couple of kicks down the stretch. That makes it more difficult (to claim.)"
Elliott also said he wasn't surprised.
"I think most of the teams around the league are working all camp, all preseason to find their guy, so to just bring in someone last minute, claiming a kicker, is pretty rare," Elliott said.
Elliott was thinking the same thing that everybody else was about that 60-yarder.
"I thought about it for a day or so. Had that gone in, could things have been different?" Elliott said. "I don't know if the answer is yes or no to that. I hit it well and just got unlucky."
SLANTS AND SCREENS
-First-round pick John Ross wore his No. 15 jersey to Monday's practice but was sans helmet as the Bengals begin prep for Sunday's opener (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) at Paul Brown Stadium. Ross apparently sprained his knee in last Thursday's pre-season finale …
Also out were starting safety Shawn Williams (elbow) and back-up tight end C.J. Uzomah (ankle)
If Monday's workout is any indication, Shawn Williams (above) and John Ross won't open Sunday.
-The Bengals felt pretty good about the two players they signed from Arizona to fill out their practice squad, particularly guard-center Cole Toner, a second-year player. The Bengals lost rookie guard-center J.J. Dielman, a fifth-round pick, to waivers on Sunday, but in the 6-7, 300-pound Toner they get a 2016 fifth-rounder who has already played in two NFL games. And they've tracked Toner since he was at Harvard and gave him high grades for, naturally, brains.
"He got good experience last year after coming out a year ago," said head coach Marvin Lewis. "He spent the year with Arizona on their squad. I guess he felt it was better to get a new start, so he's here now with us." …
They were hoping to squad cornerback Tony McRae, but when he signed with the Ravens practice squad the Bengals responded with a guy they pondered late in this year's draft, the undrafted Sojourn Shelton. The 5-9, 168-pounder out of Wisconsin played in three pre-season games and recorded five tackles …
-How about the Ravens? The week before they played the Bengals in the 2008 opener, they signed right tackle Willie Anderson, just released by the Bengals. Nine years later the Ravens are in another Bengals opener and the name wasn't as big, but they plucked McRae and put him on their practice squad when the Bengals appeared ready to sign him to their practice squad again after he was here all preseason. And remember cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris? The Ravens claimed him in early November last year, three weeks before they played…
Never shy with a quote, former Bengals linebacker Marquis Flowers, upon his arrival in New England via trade last week, promptly weighed in when Mark Farinella of the Sun Chronicle in Attleboro, Mass., asked him about the difference in the Bengals and Patriots.
"Well, it's definitely a different culture, you know," Flowers said. "Cincinnati, you know, we're still in the NFL and we still have to be a professional.
"We still have rules to follow. But it's just certain things that, here, it's more strict than Cincinnati." That will get some eyebrows raised in the locker room and maybe even from head coach Marvin Lewis. It was Lewis who sat down Flowers for a snap or two in a training camp practice when he rushed the quarterback and got too close.Flowers also told Farinella former teammate Rex Burkhead has been a huge help, no surprise there.
"Rex has been great, showing me around, giving me rides, kind of explaining the rules, the kind of stuff that I may have missed coming in late," Flowers said. "Rex has been great helping me with it, and Rex and I were good friends back in Cincinnati." …
Go behind the scenes as the Bengals take their team photos.