From the media luncheon at the beginning, to the six-year extension in the middle, to Thursday’s sharp effort in the last public session, this training camp belonged to quarterback Andy Dalton.
Indeed, Red Riflery is the camp activity that ruled many of the days at the Paul Brown Stadium practice fields.
With the Bengals set to play the Jets Saturday at 7 p.m. at PBS 11:35 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12), the Bengals went through a regular-season Friday practice on Thursday and with Dalton expected to play the first quarter he tuned up hitting 15 of 17 passes.
“I know he’s better,” said quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese after practice. “I can see it in his decisiveness, his details, the ball placement, the confidence. What strikes me is the consistency. Something may not be right, but we bounce back quickly. Nothing lingers from one bad play to causing another bad one.”
Of course, Zampese and offensive coordinator Hue Jackson expect Dalton and any another solid starting NFL quarterback to hit all but two passes where the uniform of the day is helmets and shorts.
“We’re going off cards,” Zampese reminded, but there’s no question that Dalton has had more sharp days than dull ones the past three weeks and that bodes well for what Jackson has in mind.
And it is going to be different than what former offensive coordinator Jay Gruden asked Dalton to do in his first three seasons.
“I think we have a bond, which is important,” Jackson said. “He’s getting to know me and I’m getting to know him. I like everything about him. What I’m most proud of is he’s allowed me to coach him. I’ve seen some guys bristle when change happens. He hasn’t blinked and none of the guys on offense have and that’s been good to see.”
From the day Jackson became the coordinator when Gruden became the head coach in Washington, he has been an unabashed supporter of Dalton and Dalton has been repaying the encouragement all camp.
“I feel like guys have gotten better. Hue has done a really good job of putting in things I like and that a lot of the guys like,” Dalton said. “Today was like what you want out of a Friday practice. You want to be sharp and I think for the most part we were.”
Except early on, when Jackson wasn’t happy with the performance of the play behind Dalton.
“I’m not going to say I benched him,” Jackson said. “There’s a certain level of play I expect from the offense. There’s a certain way we have to play, a certain way to attack things. How you practice, how you prepare, that’s the only way to make this thing happen.
“I’m sure they’ll tell you I got after them today. Because there’s a way we practice all the time and I’m not going to ever deviate from that because that’s what gives us success.”
With who was sitting out Thursday, here is a guess on the Won’t Play List that’s released 90 minutes before the kickoff:
All of those guys, expect Atkins, didn’t suit up. He did take one snap in team, a passing situation, but isn’t expected to do a thing until next week, when it’s hopeful he’ll play in Arizona Aug. 24.
OFFENSIVE LINE LINEUP: Left guard
The 6-6, 3-5-pound Svitek, 32, a nine-year vet, is having a good camp and is going to be a hard guy to cut. He played guard for the first time last year in New England, has played in 74 games with 18 starts, has appeared in four post-season games with two clubs and his composure shows.
So it’s getting tight, isn’t it? If they keep two backup tackles to go along with the five starters, that’s already seven of the nine offensive linemen they’re projected to keep. Then there’s
PLAYER OF THE DAY: You could give it to Dalton on Thursday, but if it wasn’t for how Andy News dominated this camp, you would have heard a lot more about rookie cornerback
Has a first-round pick ever had such a low profile in Bengaldom?
Probably because he’s exactly what they’d thought he’d be right away. Solid, smart, physical, a
“It’s early, but at this point, he’s the best rookie cornerback I’ve been around,” Lewis said.”
I was told at one point that one of his inadequacies was possibly playing the ball
down the field. And sometimes I think college corners get knocked for that,
particularly if they were a physical player. But one of the things that’s impressed
me so much is his ability to track and play the football on vertical throws. If you
want to be a great corner at this level, you have to have those capabilities, and
he’s shown those. Some things have been new to him, but he hasn’t made the
same mistake twice.”On Thursday Dennard had another interception on which he sat on the route and just read the eyes of Scott all the way. He’s done that a few times this camp. It was one of those throws to the perimeter that would have been a quick pick for six.
PLAY OF THE DAY: You could have gone with Dennard. Or Dalton to Green’s pitch-and-catch—long-bomb-over-the-shoulder. Or rookie cornerback
But give it to second-year running back
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “He’s better. He’s improving. I see it daily. He does stuff that is really making me looking forward to having him in the rotation where I know he can do some stuff.”
Bengals defensive line coach Jay Hayes on second-year left end
CROWD CALL: About 1,150 viewed the last public practice, leaving the final camp attendance at about 37,000, counting the crowd of 7,000 at West Carrollton High School.
COLD PLAY: The Bengals’ responded to the Ravens in the Ice Water Bucket Challenge for ALS after Thursday’s practice. The Bengals gathered their group who had been challenged by friends at the Ravens underneath one of video director’s Travis Brammer’s camera lifts.
All but Brammer worked in Baltimore, such as Hue Jackson, head coach Marvin Lewis, safeties coach Mark Carrier, Bill Walsh minority coach interns Duane Starks and Brad Jackson, and coaching assistant Jamie Janette.
One of Hue Jackson’s challenges was to Raiders owner Mark Davis. It will be recalled that Jackson was dismissed as head coach in Oakland despite being there only one year in 2011 and coming within six minutes of the Raiders’ first playoff berth in nearly a decade.
Lewis challenged former Bengals assistant strength coach Ray “Rock,” Oliver, now the head of Kentucky basketball’s strength program, as well as Cincinnati restaurateur Jeff Ruby and Michael Kayes, one of the Bengals directors of technology.
The training staff, aided by middle linebacker