Darqueze Dennard, secondary shine on Day 2 of Bengals camp

CINCINNATI -- Training camp has only lasted two days for the Cincinnati Bengals, but it's obvious Darqueze Dennard has picked up right where he left off in the spring.

Near the end of minicamp, he flipped on an apparent turnover switch, picking off multiple passes thrown in his general vicinity. During Saturday afternoon's practice, he added to an already strong day for the Bengals' secondary by intercepting another.

"Darqueze is competing for a starting job so when he gets his opportunities and his reps in there he's trying to get the most of his opportunities, just like the rest of these guys are," defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said.

The turnover came on the sixth play of the Bengals' full-team, 11-on-11 drills. Backup AJ McCarron had just settled into quarterback when he rifled a pass high and beyond its intended receiver. In the same instant the ball started hurtling over the receiver's head, Dennard broke off the path he had been running along with the pass-catcher he was checking and made a beeline for the ball instead.

Safety Shiloh Keo also made a move to break up the pass, leaping awkwardly just as Dennard got his hands on it.

"He made a hell of a play," Guenther said of Dennard's interception. "He's a smart player. He understands route concepts and he's really good with his techniques. He's going to have a chance."

Dennard wasn't the only corner to have an interception. Veteran Adam Jones jumped in front of a route of his own and intercepted a ball thrown by starting quarterback Andy Dalton in a 7-on-7 drill.

"One of the things we're stressing is getting more turnovers in practice and it'll carry over to games on Sunday," Guenther said. "I tell them it's not OK that they catch the ball. ... I want to see contested balls, I want to see pass breakups and I want to see interceptions."

Here are a few other observations from Saturday's practice:

  • In addition to forcing turnovers, the Bengals' secondary also flustered the quarterbacks often. Several times during 11-on-11 drills quarterbacks had to hold on to the football and ultimately check down to throw screens. All of that was a credit to the coverage by safeties and corners downfield. "We were on the coverage routes pretty good," Guenther said. "That's what we want; it checked down. We want to dictate where the ball goes at all times."

    The defense could do an even better job of dictating that Sunday when shoulder pads come on for the first time. When the pads come on, per league rules, defensive backs will be allowed to press receivers for the first time. They've been giving them more space generally the first two days.

    Full pads come out Monday.

  • Backup receiver Tevin Reese had a head-turning day. His diving grab deep downfield on a one-on-one drill with rookie corner Josh Shaw was the highlight of the practice. Reese put a double move on Shaw before getting behind his coverage. With a well-placed pass from McCarron, Reese completed the play with a reception that had fans in that corner of the field cheering raucously. Even special assistant coach, former Chargers coach Al Saunders, ran over and gave Reese a high five after the catch.

  • Left offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth didn't practice. He did participate in stretching and a portion of an early walkthrough before spending much of the afternoon on the rehab fields with injured players. All of the injured players were accounted for except again linebacker Vontaze Burfict.