A little more than 2,000 fans gathered on a slightly windy afternoon under a cloudless sky next to Paul Brown Stadium as Day 2 of the 2017 Cincinnati Bengals training camp commenced. On Day 1, it was half robot-full Haitian running back Giovani Bernard who stole the show as he shined on the practice field for the first time since he had surgery on his torn ACL 8 months prior. Bernard was back on Saturday, making cuts and doing the Gio-like things he typically does. Friday wasn’t a fluke, he’s back folks.
Bernard took second team reps behind Jeremy Hill, with rookie Joe Mixon taking third team reps. As camp progresses closer to the preseason opener, it’ll be interesting to see how the coaches distribute these three guys into the rotation. According to head coach Marvin Lewis’ press conference earlier in the day, he claims he wasn’t surprised by how quickly Bernard came back from his surgery. If that’s to be believed, and Bernard is actually right on schedule, then Hill is under a lot more pressure than once thought with a fresh second-round pick in Mixon staring at his back.
Speaking of Mixon, this was my first time seeing him in person, as it was for probably most of the other spectators there, and they absolutely gravitated toward him. After he would finish a play with the ball in his hands, constant words of encouragement came from the crowd, more so than for any other player. He would look over and give a wave, and go back with his teammates, who he’s also gelling with well. You can sense who feels the most comfortable out there in between plays, and Mixon gives off that sentiment and then some.
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