Cincinnati Bengals: 7 Players Who Have Turned Heads During Offseason Workouts
It's hard to believe that the Cincinnati Bengals' OTA's are over already—seems like the Super Bowl just ended yesterday. What that means is that now the preseason is only a couple months away.
What does that mean for Cincinnati? Well, it's time to start making some decisions based on what they're seeing. Sure, there's training camps still to come, but there is plenty to be taken from OTA's. Some guys stick out and others—well, don't.
What Coach Marvin Lewis needs to be examining is who stuck out for the right reasons, and these guys did just that.
There is absolutely no reason to believe that Josh Johnson has done enough to overtake Andy Dalton as the Bengals' starting quarterback. That'd be silly.
What he has done is almost solidify himself as the backup to Dalton, so he'll be the guy entering the game should something happen to the "Red Rifle." It hasn't been so much that Johnson impressed by having a good arm, but he made things happen with his legs.
That should not come as a shock to anyone—that's all Johnson has really ever been known for. He's been able to turn broken plays into long gains via the use of his running abilities. It won't be any fantastic trait that will earn him a starting job, but it seems the Bengals can name a No. 2 quarterback.
Safety George Iloka didn't see much time in 2012, mostly due to injury. Additionally, he was bound to see the bench more anyway, as he didn't play well when he did see time—two tackles in seven games would be his stat line.
However, it seems that Iloka is showing a good ability to interfere with passes and make open-field tackles. His game appears to have improved quite a bit, and the new talk of the town is that he's going to be the backup to Reggie Nelson.
It's feasible that he may have started last season, but with rookie Shawn Williams in to potentially fill the strong safety position, Iloka is likely to only see limited time. Regardless, if Iloka's hands and vision have truly improved, the Bengals' secondary may have gotten a huge boost.
Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer discussed a certain play in which Orson Charles made a nice goal-line catch while being heavily covered. Additionally, it would seem he is continuing to prove himself as a bit of a steal in the 2012 NFL draft.
Since the Bengals drafted Tyler Eifert, Charles' role in the Bengals' system is probably still pretty undefined. There's a lot the team could do with him, as he is showing good hands and a solid ability to block.
Perhaps, they could use him on goal-line stands or as an H-back? Just preliminary thoughts, but make no mistake—Charles will make his presence felt one way or another.
It's not so much that his workouts have been great, but James Harrison seems to have adequately adjusted to the 4-3 scheme that Cincinnati features.
This is significantly different than Dick Lebeau's 3-4 scheme that was featured in Pittsburgh. He had originally said that he struggled a bit to adjust to the Zimmer playbook, but things have since gotten better for the former Steeler.
This is encouraging since the lineups of the defense can be so different. Harrison is going to start for the Bengals this season, and something they desperately need is a solid linebacker not named Vontaze Burfict. At this point, the Harrison experience is beginning well.
Coach Marvin Lewis has spoken highly of Giovani Bernard, thus far, saying that he's one of the hardest-working guys one team (courtesy Bengals.com).
This is the best news that could potentially have come from the running back position. While BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a decent season in 2012, it cannot be expected from him again. He's never been a guy who will carry the entire load by himself.
Enter Bernard, who seems to be impressing both Jay Gruden and Marvin Lewis. It is likely that Green-Ellis will top the depth chart, but you can bet that with Bernard's work ethic, he's going to see quite a bit of action this season.
This year's first-round pick for the Bengals has been proving himself worthy of the selection throughout OTA's this offseason. I'm still skeptical to call it a smart move, but I like what I see so far.
Tyler Eifert has shown tremendous hands throughout the course of camp, a big reason the Bengals drafted him. Jermaine Gresham's campaign fizzled and sputtered to an end in the playoffs earlier this year, as he dropped several passes in that game.
Now, the Notre Dame product is going to join Gresham. He's showing a great tendency to catch passes and a good ability to block, so the two-tight end set in Cincinnati is coming.
Out of everyone trying to prove themselves in camp, it seems that Cobi Hamilton may have done the best job. Hamilton has been a long shot to be the No. 2 receiver, and while it's likely he won't begin his career that high, he's certainly shown the ability to be a great one someday.
Cincinnati took him in the sixth round this season, and Hamilton has utilized his ability to catch and run during OTAs. He's been impressive working with the offense, and it's not unlikely that we will see him get a few reps in Jay Gruden's offense.
His physicality as a receiver is going to be a huge plus, as that is something that only he and Mohamed Sanu truly possess. It's a good quality to have outside of the speed A.J. Green has and will complement it well.