Monday, August 4, 2014
Bengals wake-up call: Three areas to watch
By Coley Harvey
CINCINNATI -- As the Cincinnati Bengals get going with Day 10 of training camp, here are three items we are going to be watching:
Time to prepare: While the task this week is to continue building up their team by focusing on evaluating their talent, the Bengals will also be paying attention to another team the next few days. For the first time during the 2014 season, they will prepare for a game. The bulk of the game preparation will happen on Tuesday, but the talk surrounding the team starts to change as of Monday. For about a week now, players have mentioned how they are ready to face someone other than themselves. Thursday night, they will get their chance when they visit Kansas City. We will keep an eye on how intense Monday's practice is to get an idea of how ready they are for Week 1 of the preseason.
Rookie watch -- Ryan Hewitt: One of the rookies who has been worth watching all of training camp, Hewitt has caught attention with the way he's performed in both the pass- and run-blocking games, and also with how reliable he has been as a pass-catcher. The tight end isn't only competing with others at that position for a roster spot. He is also battling the likes of fullback Nikita Whitlock and H-back Orson Charles. Hewitt has played some at H-back this camp, where he has excelled at picking up blocks and opening holes in the running game. With Jermaine Gresham and Kevin Brock injured, he has gotten his share of playing time with the first-team offense at tight end. We will be keeping an eye on the undrafted free agent during this practice.
Injuries healed? The Bengals still have quite the full training room, but they hope it will start emptying out beginning Monday as the preseason game looms. Receiver Marvin Jones could be one of the first to return. He told me over the weekend that his ankle injury was "close" to being completely healed. Offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth also has been slowly working his way through a calf injury that he doesn't appear very concerned about. He might not be far from complete health, either. Linebacker Jayson DiManche, who had been on concussion protocol, came off in time to practice in Saturday's scrimmage. Three others, Brock, linebacker J.K. Schaffer and offensive tackle Andre Smith are hoping to come off it soon, too.