The Bengals were set to practice in pads for the first time at training camp Tuesday, which meant edge rusher Joseph Ossai put them on for the first time in 50 weeks.
Or, for the first time since his spectacular NFL debut in Tampa Bay during last season’s preseason opener was cut short with season-ending knee and wrist injuries.
You remember now. Those 33 rookie snaps that included a GOAT sack of Tom Brady on his second play as a pro and that Pro Football Focus grade that was the best for a defensive rookie that first weekend.
“One step at a time,” Ossai said before practice. “I’ve been out for a year and I’m not going to jump back completely… I’m not even thinking about jumping back to where I was. I’m just thinking about taking it a day at a time and working on my technique every day.”
They’re working Ossai in gradually. He took about five snaps Monday for his first work in team in a year and he says there were no ill effects.
“So far I like what I see,” said senior defensive assistant Mark Duffner, who helps line coach Marion Hobby with the edges. “We’re going to bring him along gradually.”
A third-round pick out of Texas, Ossai kept an eye last year on their top two edgers, Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard.
“How to carry yourself,” Ossai said of what he saw. “How to practice, how to take care of the body. Especially from Sam and Trey. They have a routine and they stick to it. How to take care of your body off the field so you can be 100 percent on that field.”
_Special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons planned his second punting session of camp Tuesday between veteran Kevin Huber and first-year candidate Drue Chrisman and he says both have done well, as have veteran long snapper Clark Harris and rookie competitor Cal Adomitis.
But it’s going to come down to preseason games, where he says he’ll rotate instead of giving each a game of their own.
“We’ll look at them in the same games so we can compare,” Simmons said. “Sometimes the conditions are different from game to game.”
_Backup quarterback Brandon Allen hosted Joe Burrow during Monday’s workout as Burrow recovered from an appendectomy watching Allen work.
“He’s getting what I’m used to doing. Getting all the mental reps that he can,” Allen said. “I’ll come back and see what he sees and that’s kind of how we normally do it. Bouncing off what we saw from each other. What made you go here? What made you go there kind of thing.”