Bengals Camp Day 5: Joe Burrow, “Lackadaisical” Offense Struggle

Germaine Pratt picks off Burrow late, Defense shines in final practice before pads.

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Joe Burrow calls the signals Monday during training camp in Cincinnati. (Mike Petraglia, CLNS Media)

CINCINNATI — For those who thought Joe Burrow would catch a break from his defense to start camp and get a little confidence boost, Monday was another reminder that the defense gets paid to make any opposing offense look bad.

And look bad was what the Bengals QB1 appeared again on Monday, the third time in four practices where the defense appeared a step ahead of the Bengals offense.

Burrow’s final passing chance came late in practice when he threw over the middle for Ja’Marr Chase. Germaine Pratt undercut the route and picked off the pass cleanly.

His return elicited a high energy swarm of defenders looking for a player to block and bodies flying all around. Starting right tackle Riley Reiff took an awkward spill and appeared to limp slightly off the field. Reiff did not seek any attention from medical staff.

Another moment of frustration was a completion to Ja’Marr Chase, only to have Chase spin into an oncoming Jesse Bates III and have the ball stripped and returned for a score.

Burrow had a couple of clean hookups, including a pretty 20-yard seam route to C.J. Uzomah, coming off his Achilles injury suffered in Week 2 last season against the Browns.

Other Burrow moments included:
* A nice pass to the flat to Joe Mixon on a blitz pickup read.
* An on-target pass to Tee Higgins over the deep middle that was dropped.
* A bootleg that had Burrow roll out to his right and overthrow Higgins with Chidobe Awuzie in coverage.
* A Sam Hubbard deflection at the line of scrimmage on a Burrow pass to the short flat.

In general, as practice wore on, Burrow’s body language was that of a frustrated quarterback, and his coach Zac Taylor termed the offense’s play “lackadaisical” at times.

Other notes:
* Michael Jordan and rookie Jackson Carman saw action with the first team offensive line at left guard and right guard, respectively.
* Defensive back Trae Waynes (slight hamstring) and offensive tackle Fred Johnson (quadriceps) did not practice. Waynes is day-to-day while Johnson is expected to miss about a week. Also getting a veteran day of rest on Monday was long snapper Clark Harris.
* Joe Mixon continues to look impressive with bursts through the line of scrimmage, especially in zone blocking runs to the outside. Mixon’s ability to hit the line with acceleration and catch the ball have stood out so far.
* Pooka Williams Jr., in addition to getting work returning kickoffs Monday, saw some action with the second team wide receiving group, as Brandon Allen threw several passes in his direction.
* Eli Apple saw time on first-team defense covering Tee Higgins in the end zone in red zone offense. Apple broke up one pass for Higgins and had coverage on another incompletion in the end zone.
* Best catch of the day came from Auden Tate down the right sideline, as he went airborne to catch an accurate pass from Brandon Allen over Darius Phillips and Brandon Wilson in coverage.
* Rookie kicker Evan McPherson was the only kicker to see work in the team period as he connected on 5-of-6 kicks. He was good from 28, 32, 35, 39 and 42 yard. He missed wide right from the right hash from 46. McPherson is now 19-of-21 in camp. Siebert did not kick Monday and remains at 13-of-15.
* Tuesday will be the first of two straight days in full pads for the Bengals as they put on pads for the first time since their last regular season game in January, the 38-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium.