The Cincinnati Bengals opened training camp Friday with 1,300 fans on hand to watch the first practice.
Here are three observations from the initial session:
First-round pick John Ross did not participate in offseason workouts because the wide receiver was finishing his bachelor’s degree at the University of Washington in addition to recovering from labrum surgery.
He admitted he needs some time to get back up to speed after a shaky start Friday. Early in the practice he dropped an easy slant pass in a drill without defenders, prompting one fan to yell, “Oh, come on, Ross.”
“I wouldn’t say rusty, but I definitely have to get my feet back under me,” Ross said. “It’s going to take some time for me to get back into football shape. It won’t be long. It feels great to be back first day.”
Ross took part in position drills and fielded some punts but was not on the field for any team drills.
Cornerback William Jackson, last year’s first-round pick, turned in the Play of the Day when he jumped in front of Cody Core for a pick-6 against Andy Dalton.
The play was satisfying for Jackson on a number of levels. First, it came in his first camp practice suffering a season-ending chest injury nearly a year to the day prior (Aug. 1, 2016). And second, he made it after misplaying a couple of other chances at interceptions.
“Today was a good day,” he said after practice. “There’s always room to improve. There’s a couple plays I wasn’t great on. But overall I had an OK day.
“I finally got the pick I was looking for, so that’s always a good thing,” he added. “But on the first day, knock the rust off and come back tomorrow better.”
Pain and pull
The day didn’t go so well for a couple of undrafted players trying to make the roster. Wide receiver Jake Kumerow made what would have been the Play of the Day when he beat Jackson on a deep ball from Andy Dalton. But five plays later, Kumerow limped off after going down on a run by Giovani Bernard and did not return.
Kumerow watched the rest of practice from cart with his left foot elevated and then rode the cart into the stadium after practice finished.
On the play after Kumerow’s long reception, guard Alex Redmond and tackle Landon Lechler both jumped early on a play in which they were pulling to the right. After resetting, Redmond jumped again on the next play and was pulled in favor of Dustin Stanton.