The Cincinnati Bengals held their first practice without Brandon LaFell, whose contract was terminated Thursday morning, as a crowd of 850 looked on.
Here are some observations from Day 7 of Bengals camp:
Receiving Core highlights receiving corps
LaFell’s release and injuries to Josh Malone (hamstring) and Auden Tate (concussion) resulted in more reps for players lower on the depth chart, and Cody Core took full advantage.
The third-year receiver from Mississippi, who has 17 career catches for 200 yards and no touchdowns, caught three TDs Thursday, including one while running with the first team in a red-zone drill.
Core beat Dre Kirkpatrick to make a leaping catch at the goal line on a strike from Andy Dalton.
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Earlier in the practice he beat Kei’Varae Russell up the right sideline to haul in a touchdown pass from Matt Barkley, then he ran along the rope beyond the north end zone slapping hands with all the fans.
His first score came early in practice in a half-line drill when put a double move on linebacker Jordan Evans to easily grab a pass from Barkley.
Eifert eases back
Tight end Tyler Eifert was not in uniform and spent the early part of practice working on the rehab field with linebacker Vontaze Burfict, cornerback Tony McRae and Malone.
Head coach Marvin Lewis said it was all part of the plan as they ease Eifert into action. He practiced fully Monday, Tuesday was off day, practiced Wednesday and took Thursday off other than the rehab work and running some routes in install. Lewis also said Eifert will not be taking part in Saturday’s scrimmage.
Other players sitting out were safety Clayton Fejedelem, quarterback Logan Woodside, wide receiver Auden Tate, cornerback Sojourn Shelton and defensive tackles Josh Tupou and Andrew Brown.
Officials on scene
Referee Carl Cheffers and four members of his crew worked the practice and will stay in town for Friday night’s practice and Saturday’s scrimmage.
The refs also will show a video presentation to the players on the officiating points of emphasis for 2018, and specifically the new helmet rule, and respond to questions and concerns. Later Friday, the officials will show the same presentation to the media.
Wide receiver John Ross, who supplanted LaFell as the outside receiver with the first team, had an up and down day with two early drops – prompting offensive coordinator Bill Lazor to yell “They all count, John” – followed by a spin move out of a curl that left cornerback Davontae Harris grasping at air as Ross ran into the end zone from 15 yards out. … Likewise, Tyler Boyd made another terrific leaping catch but also had a rare drop, although after the ball bounced off his hands it ended up in the arms of Ross for a completion. … Safety Brandon Wilson intercepted Barkley on a deep pass intended for Core. … Another day, another bad snap, but this time it wasn’t rookie center Billy Price. T.J. Johnson sailed one way over the head of Barkley early in practice. … Barkley was impressive in a two-minute drill, going 4 for 5 with four consecutive completions, the last of which was a TD pass to Core.