After a hectic Day 1 of Cincinnati Bengals training camp, the action will slow down ever so slightly for yours truly Friday as we get into the rest of the preseason practices.
Hopefully you had a chance to catch a few of our live Bengals TV hits on ESPN Thursday. There's a good chance you'll be seeing more Bengals TV coverage in the coming months, and I can assure you it won't all revolve around Andy Dalton's contract.
Which takes us to Friday's Quick Takes.
With all the talk surrounding Dalton and the injury updates that came out of Thursday's workout it was easy to overlook the players in front of Dalton who were giving him the time he needed to look sharp in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.
Left guard Clint Boling, who missed part of the past six games the Bengals played last season (including the wild-card playoff loss) after suffering an ACL tear on Dec. 1, was back in the starting rotation. Because of how late the serious injury occurred last season, it seemed rather unlikely that he would be ready by the opening day of camp. The recovery time for ACL tears is much shorter than it used to be, but even a nine-month recovery initially seemed overly optimistic, even though Boling never doubted that he would be ready.
His return took just less than eight months. Recovery times can vary from person to person. It's important to remember that not all ACL tears are the same.
Take another Bengals veteran who suffered an ACL tear, defensive tackle Geno Atkins, for example. He's still rehabbing from his injury that came nearly a month before Boling's. He was working with the rest of the rehab squad on a side field Thursday.
Boling wasn't the only notable addition on the offensive line. Rookie Russell Bodine, who battled in the spring for a chance to start, was snapping to Dalton as veteran Mike Pollak went through a rehab regimen from a knee issue that popped up early in the offseason. Pollak didn't practice during minicamp and organized team activities (OTAs), but had hoped he would be ready in time for Day 1 of training camp.
In Pollak's place, Bodine got meaningful reps, and delivered cleaner snaps to Dalton than he did during the final open OTA of the spring. They had enough poor snaps in that practice that offensive line coach Paul Alexander pulled Bodine to the side and worked a little harder with him with his technique. Who knows? Depending on how long it takes Pollak to get all the way back, and depending on how comfortable the Bengals get with Bodine at the position, the rookie could end up winning one of the team's more intriguing position battles.
We still have five weeks before we'll know whether he's won that starting spot or not.
Let's get to a few other Quick Takes:
A.J. Green, the romantic. When the football world thinks about A.J. Green, leaping catches, one-handed grabs and touchdown receptions are most likely the first images that come to mind. When you read this piece from Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson, you'll see he's got a little flair for the romantic, too.
Dalton brings out Noah. After practice Thursday, Dalton and his wife, Jordan, showed off their month-old son, Noah. It was the first practice for the baby who wore a black Bengals onesie that featured Dalton's name and No. 14 on the back. While holding Noah, Dalton spoke about how the baby's birth has been a bit of a distraction from the big distraction of the summer: his contract extension talks.
"That's the big thing. I have so much support from my family, my loved ones. People can say what they want," Dalton said. "I get to go home to an awesome wife and an unbelievable son."