CINCINNATI — Joe Burrow and the Bengals completed their first training camp practice on Wednesday afternoon.
The session lasted about 90 minutes in the 90 degree Cincinnati heat.
Plenty of questions remain following the Bengals' first practice, but a few were answered. Here are three observations from Wednesday.
Burrow's Back and Better Than Ever
Burrow declared himself 100% before practice began. He delivered just a few hours later.
The 24-year-old was sharp in his first round of 11-on-11 drills of the season.
Burrow connected with Ja'Marr Chase, he found Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. The increase in velocity was on full display. His passes cut through the air—even the longer throws to the opposite hash.
The Bengals didn't run any deep routes, which is common at the beginning of training camp. That didn't stop Burrow from throwing line drives at his receivers. Some throws were short, quick passes to the tight end. Others were missiles that landed in a small window where only the receiver could catch it.
Burrow spent all offseason rehabbing his knee, while trying to improve his mechanics. It's only one practice, but he looked like a better player on Wednesday.
"I’ve improved my entire game," Burrow said. "I’m excited to show all my improvements—deep ball, intermediate, protections, everything. I’m just a much better all-around player."
Prove it Rookie
When the Bengals picked Jackson Carman in the second-round (46th overall), they were hoping he'd be able to start right away. He has great size and he's athletic, plus he played at a high level for one of the best college programs in the country.
Despite that, it looks like earning a starting job is going to be much easier said than done.
There is no depth chart, but Carman worked with the third offensive line group on Wednesday. That doesn't mean he's third-string, but it's a clear message that he's going to have to earn a starting job.
"Just show that he can be consistent day in and day out," Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said on Wednesday. "This isn't going to be as easy to you. And so you've got to spend a lot of time making sure you're ready to go because I promise you the guys he's competing with, they know their jobs, and they're ready to do it and they don't want to lose their job. So those will be good training camp battles at those guard spots and that'll be an interesting group to watch as we get going here."
People questioned the Carman selection when the Bengals made the pick in April. If he gets off to a slow start, that criticism will just get louder.
What Kicking Competition?
Evan McPherson is the Bengals' starting kicker. There's no way Austin Seibert is even going to make it a competition.
Only one kicker kicked on Wednesday. McPherson went 6-for-6 with a long of 48 yards.
All six of his kicks had plenty of distance on them. He may miss a kick here or there, but there's no way it should be a competition.
Seibert may get a chance to kick on Thursday, but this doesn't feel like a competition. The Bengals took McPherson in the fifth-round of the 2021 NFL Draft for a reason. They believe he can be a special player. He was perfect on Wednesday, which is a good sign that he can be the longterm answer at kicker in Cincinnati.
Watch highlights from Wednesday's practice below.
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