Sloppy practice doesn't hide talent

GEORGETOWN, Ky. -- Here are five observations on the Cincinnati Bengals, based on their July 31 practice:

1. Sometimes it's better when last impressions are lasting impressions. Take the case of the Bengals, for instance, during Sunday afternoon's lone camp workout for the day. On the final snap, with most of the fans having already abandoned the bleachers to queue up for the autograph session that typically follows practice, quarterback Carson Palmer lobbed a perfectly placed bomb up the right sideline to streaking wide receiver Chad Johnson, who laid full-out horizontally to gather in the pass as he bounced twice on the turf. It was a terrific example of what one of the NFL's premier young pitch-and-catch tandems is capable of achieving in 2005, coming off a 2004 campaign in which Palmer and Johnson had already established themselves as a pretty dynamic duo.

On this day however, it was, unfortunately, atypical of the Bengals practice. It was a bad day for ESPN.com to have visited the Georgetown College campus. Nothing against the school, of course, which is one of our favorite summer stops on the camp tour. Even for this city-bred boy, there is something charming about traversing a two-lane road past hundreds of breathtaking thoroughbreds, through the smell of fresh-cut bluegrass, and onto a small-college campus. But Sunday, in what coach Marvin Lewis called the shakiest practice of camp, the Bengals didn't look like thoroughbreds.