Camp Notes: Bengals Weekend Wrap-up

It was a busy, productive and painful beginning to training camp for the Bengals. They apparently suffered a close call with Michael Johnson, while one of his backups, Wallace Gilberry, was packed in ice Sunday. Otherwise on display were the Joneses, the AJ's and the rest of the Bengals.

Here are some of the highlights and some updates after Sunday's third day of Bengals training camp at Paul Brown Stadium:

JOHNSON HAS MCL SPRAIN: Defensive end Michael Johnson was carted off the practice field Sunday afternoon after suffering a right knee injury. A team source told ESPN's Josina Anderson that Johnson sprained his MCL and "will be good in a few weeks." It was first feared that Johnson tore his ACL, but head coach Marvin Lewis said he was told on the field by team doctors that Johnson did not suffer a season-ending tear. His backup, Wallace Gilberry, ended practice with his hamstring iced.

JONES FEELING FINE: Wide receiver Marvin Jones is feeling good about his recovery from last season's foot injuries. He said he felt no ill effects this past weekend. He missed all of last season after a breakout 2013. The Bengals are hoping that a healthy Jones, A.J. Green plus tight end Tyler Eifert will force defenses into more single coverages, which would give the offense more opportunities to take advantage of each of the receiver's differing skill sets.

SPREADING IT AROUND: Although Green is expected to gobble up the majority of the passes, the Bengals want to continue hitting different targets in the passing game, and keep defenses guessing by unleasing "Pandora's Box" as offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said before the opening of training camp. The Bengals had five players with 25 or more receptions last season: Green 69, Jermaine Gresham 62, Mohamed Sanu 56, Giovani Bernard 43 and Jeremy Hill 27. That's 257 receptions, an average of 51.4, accounting for 80 percent of the team's completions last year.

EIFERT SHARP: The starting tight end, looking to get back on the field after last year's lost season, has been explosive while getting off the line of scrimmage. He has been sharp in his routes. He's been adept at finding space between defenders. He has made a catch on a contested ball in traffic.

ADD HEWITT AND BURKHEAD: H-back Ryan Hewitt is expected to be in the receiving mix this season and running back Rex Burkhead also will have an expanded role. Picking up where he left off in the Wild Card playoff game at Indianapolis, Burkhead has flexed his versatility by taking snaps in the backfield, catching passes out of the backfield and lining up in the slot. He also has been running through drills with the wide receivers. Though free-agent receiver Greg Little re-signed with the team, Burkhead is expected to supply the depth in the wake of No. 4 James Wright's season-ending knee surgery.

THE OTHER JONES ON GREEN: Green once again was the responsibility of Adam Jones in pass coverage. The 5-foot-10 Jones, starting at cornerback, gives up six inches in height to the 6-4 receiver. He was holding his own, with an interception on Saturday, until giving up some big plays to Green on Sunday, including a touchdown.

JONES GETTING THE GREEN? Adam Jones told ESPN Saturday that the Bengals reached out to his agent regarding a possible contract extension. Jones, now in his sixth year with the team, has moved to the top of the depth chart at cornerback while becoming one of the most dynamic return men in the NFL. If he isn't re-signed, he'll be eligible for free agency after the completion of the 2015 season.

SMITH FEELING FIT: Offensive tackle Andre Smith reportedly weighs 322 pounds. He's shed 23 pounds since weighing in at 345 before suffering a triceps injury in the second half of last season.

SAFETY IN NUMBERS: The Bengals' safeties, including offseason signee Shiloh Keo, have had their hands on the football, and they could be adding erstwhile cornerback Leon Hall to the group, at least on a part-time basis. Hall has been working in the slot with two outside corners. Bengals safeties ranked tied for seventh in the NFL last season with seven interceptions. Detroit led the league with 11. Cleveland was next with nine. Chicago and San Francisco had eight. Atlanta, Buffalo, Denver, the New York Giants and Philadelphia tied Cincinnati with seven each.

UNDER PRESSURE: The defensive line continued its assault on the offense, pressuring the quarterbacks into early decisions. Andy Dalton was less accurate Sunday than he was Saturday, completing 11 of 17 passes, according to Bengals.com. He was intercepted by backup cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris.

ATKINS KILLIN' IT: Early camp MVP: Defensive tackle Geno Atkins. The team's web site says he's the best player on either side of the ball right now. He has been tough to block. He's thrown off the timing of the snap count for the offense, frustrating the quarterbacks, who've looked only so-so in the early stages of camp in part because of Atkins, a one-man wrecking crew.

THE OTHER AJ: Backup quarterback AJ McCarron was in pads for the first time since he practiced for three weeks late last season and for just the second occasion since 2013 in his final bowl game for Alabama. He threw an interception Sunday, and fumbled a snap. He was off target on some throws, and had a miscommunication with Green, but was able to put together a nice scramble toward the sideline to hit rookie tight end C.J. Uzomah low to the ground. McCarron blamed some of his weekend woes on not having any reps with the first team.

COACH AL: Ex-San Diego Chargers head coach Al Saunders is working Bengals training camp as a volunteer senior offensive assistant. Saunders was the offensive coordinator in Oakland in 2011 when Bengals OC Jackson was the Raiders' head coach.

UP NEXT: Monday practice in full pads from 3-5 p.m. Tuesday practice 3-5 p.m. Wednesday is a day off. Thursday, they're back at it.


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