I've got to admit, seeing the new faces on the field really set the tone for the entire practice; it felt different than any I had seen in quite some time.
All eyes were on the new QB Andy Dalton, and the young receiver A.J. Green, who is preparing to fill Chad Ochocinco's Pro Bowl shoes.
It seems like just yesterday when a young Chad Ochocinco, then still named Johnson, was on this very field taking throws from the No. 1 overall pick, Carson Palmer. However, those days are now past us and a new era of Bengals football is clearly being ushered in.
As Dalton and receiver Jordan Shipley ran out onto the practice field, it began to rain heavily and practice had to be delayed a few hours, but not before Dalton loosened up the arm in pouring rain.
With Carson Palmer sitting at home, and his younger brother Jordan being sidelined with other free agent signee Bruce Gradkowski until Thursday due to NFL rules, the spotlight rested solely on Dalton.
Dalton threw with QB Dan LeFevour as the two battled to get an early nod from coaches in what is surely going to be a hotly contested quarterback battle for the remainder of camp. Both QBs started off shaky at best, missing high and low, as they threw from the rain-soaked turf at the Georgetown facilities.
Later in the practice, both LeFevour and Dalton settled down and made quite a few nice throws, however, it was clear that Dalton felt he needed to show his leadership early. He repeatedly shook off LeFevour when it was Dan's turn to throw so that he could take extra reps.
During the practice, Dalton showed some fire as he over-shot a few receivers, clapped his hands together in anger, and then proceeded to wave off LeFevour in order to get right back into the driver's seat.
It was hard to focus on much else, but another player kept catching everyone's eye as well, the Bengals' first-round pick A.J. Green. The receiver impressed early and cheers erupted from the stands as he made quite a few nice catches. Jordan Shipley and Jermaine Gresham also impressed as they made it clear this is one extremely talented, but young, bunch.
New offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, showed the fire that is commonly associated with his brother as he trotted around the field motivating his players and discussing his newly implemented schemes.
On a defensive note, most of the action took place on the D-line as the young guns Atkins, Dunlap and Johnson all worked in multiple spots along the line with no clear-cut starter.
Day One Highlights:
- A nice grab was made by Jordan Shipley as a pass was deflected, almost intercepted, yet still caught and advanced by the second-year receiver out of Texas.
- Dalton and Green received loud cheers from the small crowd in a moment that felt like it was truly turning the page to a new chapter in Bengals history.
- Linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy tore his Achilles' tendon and is done for the season. This is the second camp in a row a Bengal has gone down this early with an Achilles tear.
- Midway through practice, word leaked out that the Bengals had signed Nate Clements in a monumental move that needed to be made in order to fill the huge hole that the departure of cornerback Johnathan Joseph had created.
- Jay Gruden was the first new offensive coordinator to lead the Bengals offense since 2001.
- Rey Maualuga, a fan favorite, promised his twitter followers he would be out early to sign autographs, and when he didn't appear he tweeted fans that after practice he would make it up to them by signing until the police officers kicked him off the field—something he has been known to do since coming to the Bengals in 2009.