Monday, July 28, 2014
Bengals wake-up call: Three areas to watch
By Coley Harvey
CINCINNATI -- As the Cincinnati Bengals get going with Day 5 of training camp Monday, here are three items we're going to be watching:
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Defensive line a focus. Admittedly, it's been a challenge keeping tabs on the defensive line through the first four practices. Until the Bengals are permitted to do a bit more hitting, it's hard sometimes to gauge how well the line is playing compared to other positions in which it's a little more apparent how well they're executing. The defensive line's rotation also hasn't changed much since the spring. If there's one area that is set on the team, it's this one. Still, it's worth taking a peek at the line, specifically 360-pound LaKendrick Ross, a possible practice squad addition who is eager to learn NFL defensive tackle techniques.
Can Hill sustain his play? I'm also interested in watching rookie running back Jeremy Hill and seeing if he can sustain some of the solid play he showcased in Sunday's workout. He was good in blitz pickup and even better in some of the half-line drills the Bengals ran as they split up their weakside and strongside groups. Expectations are high for the second-rounder in this camp, and it's important to coaches to see steady growth. I'll be interested to see if he's able to keep it going Monday.
Tate more than a returner? Receiver and return specialist Brandon Tate is trying to prove to coaches that he's more than a pure return man. He wants them to value him as an offensive weapon, too. Versatility could be the difference getting one of the last roster spots. I'll be keeping tabs on how Tate is doing Monday.