Gresham stars in Bengals' Oklahoma drill

CINCINNATI -- Tight end Jermaine Gresham was the star of the Cincinnati Bengals' Oklahoma drill, a highlight of the team's first padded practice of training camp.

Gresham successfully blocked two Pro Bowl players in linebacker James Harrison and defensive tackle Geno Atkins. The Oklahoma drill, which has become a tradition under coach Marvin Lewis, features an offensive blocker lining up in an alley with a defender across from him and a ball carrier behind him. When the whistle is blown, the defender tries to get off the block and get to the ball carrier.

Some thought the Bengals were trying to test Gresham by matching him against those two defenders. Gresham, though, asked to go up against Atkins. While Gresham won the matchup, Atkins and the defense protested it because Gresham jumped offside. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict even threw up a towel as if it were a penalty flag.

"He moved early," Lewis said. "He cheated. He tried to cheat, I should say, but he got caught."

Despite Gresham's misstep, Lewis has been impressed with Gresham.

"Jermaine has grown so much over the last two seasons," Lewis said. "This offseason, he continues to take another step. This camp is taking another step."

Gresham is trying to bounce back from a troubling playoff performance in Houston. He had as many drops (two) as catches in that loss to the Texans.

Asked if the Texans game impacted Gresham, Lewis said, "I think it had a huge impact on him. The positive is you keep working to get better at those situations and those opportunities. But we all lost the football game. One play and one player doesn't lose a football game."

Some other notes:

  • The Bengals reached capacity for the first time in their two-year run at holding training camp in downtown Cincinnati. More than 2,000 people attended Sunday's practice, filling up the bleachers and cramming themselves along the one sideline. It got to the point where the Bengals could only allow fans in until someone left.

  • Wide receiver Marvin Jones was shaken up toward the end of practice and left the field. He laid out for a deep throw from Andy Dalton and fell face first into the turf. After dropping the pass, he stayed on the ground holding his head before getting up.

  • Orson Charles, who is trying to convert from tight end to fullback, was the only player who won three matchups in the Oklahoma drill. He bested one starter, linebacker Rey Maualuga.

  • The Bengals gave the left side of their offensive line the day off. With left guard Clint Boling (offseason ankle surgery) and left tackle Andrew Whitworth (knee) out, Mike Pollak filled in at left guard and Anthony Collins was in at left tackle. The starting offensive line also didn't have right tackle Andre Smith (calf, Non-Football Injury list).