Training camp got off to a good start and the Bengals offense dominated Week 1 headlines. Several questions were answered resoundingly and others still need more practices to sort out. Optimistic reports dominated the news coming out of camp and hopefully camp continues with more of the same.
One of the biggest questions in the offseason was answered and then answered again within the span of a few days - would Tyler Eifert be healthy to play at all this season? Eifert was absent from OTAs and then just as training camp started, he was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list July 26. Just four days later, Eifert was cleared to play and removed from the PUP list, then in practice. A healthy Eifert sounds like an oxymoron at this point, his presence in the Bengals offense makes the offense more versatile and dangerous. Eifert is a much better tight end than Tyler Kroft, his red zone domination is almost unmatched.
Giovani Bernard praised the offense on the Bengals team website stating “I feel like there’s a little bit more urgency with everybody. Not just the running game, but really just all throughout the entire offense. There’s a lot more urgency with everybody.” The offense flew all over the field during the first week with the wide receivers impressing - particularly John Ross, Tyler Boyd, and Auden Tate. The offensive urgency as well as the proficiency displayed at the end of 2017 leads me to believe the team may turn the corner to realize the massive offensive potential they have.
Speaking of John Ross, the fantasy community as a whole has noticed what he has put together in camp and the buzz is growing for the talented wide receiver. Ross flashed his deep speed, blowing by veteran Dre Kirkpatrick to catch a rainbow from Andy Dalton. What stood out most was his speed on every route, Ross cut and embarrassed a few defensive backs throughout team activities. The precision and quickness really showed why he was drafted so high and what may be in store.
Auden Tate is a receiver who will have to fight his way to make the active roster but looked good in the first week of camp. He made play after play, catching everything thrown in his general area and physically dominating defensive backs. Tate should easily make the roster at this rate and has the look of a dominating possession receiver at 6’5” and 225 pounds. Tate was carted off the field Wednesday, hopefully it was not serious.
The defense wasn’t receiving much buzz during the first week, as there was a lot of rotation and the defensive backs were tested a lot. John Parrott was at training camp and said in a Voxer chat that Carl Lawson was repeatedly embarrassing new tackle Cordy Glenn. Glenn compared Lawson's motor to the great Dwight Freeney, a lofty comparison. Lawson is a talented pass rusher and a step forward would make the defense much scarier. The defensive line features good depth and the linebacker corps has potential to be a solid unit. The defense is good enough to keep them in any game, and I look forward to seeing more strides as camp goes on.