- Coley Harvey, ESPN Staff Writer
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CINCINNATI -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Cincinnati Bengals training camp:
In their shortest practice of camp, the Bengals went through 65 minutes of short-yardage, third-down, special teams and goal-line drills. The rare early evening workout was light overall on contact, although the offense and defense did do sharp thudding during the goal-line segment that closed practice. Those six goal-line plays brought out the most contact the Bengals have had since late last week, although coach Marvin Lewis contended the drill wasn't "live." Twice on the six plays, the Bengals' first- and second-team offense scored. Cedric Peerman plowed through for a 1-yard score on third-and-goal, and Giovani Bernard pushed through a 1-yard score on second-and-goal. Bernard may have scored on the first-down play had it not been for tight end Tyler Eifert. After slipping past several unabated defenders, Bernard was bouncing to the right edge toward the end zone when Eifert lost his footing and fell on him. Bernard still tried to churn his legs for the end zone, but the 250-pound tight end was just a little too heavy.
Asked about Bernard's first-down run, offensive coordinator Hue Jackson gleefully pointed out Bernard's effort as an example he wants to see replicated by all his backs. "He was trying to get there," Jackson said. "That's what you've got to have. That's the nature of this game." Bernard had a few other head-turning runs, including a third-and-short conversion in which he sprinted through a hole untouched during a lower-speed, lighter-contact exercise. Had it been a real game, he likely would have turned that run into a massive gain.
Rookie back Jeremy Hill didn't have one of his best practices. After fumbling early in the workout following a hand-off from Jason Campbell, he was denied on his only goal-line try from one yard out. When it came to Hill's disappointing day, Jackson was adamant about using it as a lesson for the entire team. "That's football. Football, that's the way it goes," Jackson said. "It ain't going to blow you away all the time. You've got to make it go your way." About having down days as a team during training camp, Jackson added: "These are good days -- contrary to what people think -- these are great days, and there will be better days. There will be days when we've got to pull through, and these are the times that make you learn how to pull through. When it doesn't got as well and you've got to push longer, harder, tougher to get it done. ... It gives me an opportunity to coach longer, harder. So guys don't believe all the things that are written, they keep understanding that there's a lot of work to be done and that they go out and do it."
A quick follow-up to that last thought: Jackson said he was glad to have a day like Friday where Hill struggled and Campbell had issues throwing an interception directly to a defender, because he wanted to pair a day like that up against a day like Thursday. On Thursday, Bengals quarterbacks and receivers hit most of their passes. Eifert and Dalton hooked up well in the seams.
On the injury front, the Bengals were without linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who told a reporter he was "banged up." Left guard Mike Pollak also didn't participate, but Clint Boling did. After not suiting up Thursday, defensive tackle Geno Atkins was in full pads, but he didn't go through any of the team drills.
Up next: The Bengals wrap up another string of practices with a 1:30 p.m. workout inside Paul Brown Stadium on Saturday. It's "Family Day," meaning following the free and open practice, players will be available for autographs. On Sunday, they take their second off day of camp.