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From day one, the Bengals defense communicates the message; Money Mac adapts to the new launch rule; Joe Burrow displays a varied attack

Mike Hilton could look up from the slot and see Cam Taylor-Britt out of the corner of his eye. Linebackers Logan Wilson and Germane Pratt spoke in front of him. Ahead of them on the defensive line, BJ Hill stood next to Trey Hendrickson, on the other side of Sam Hubbard.

And he could hear a really big birdie behind him in Vonn Christian Bell’s voice Tuesday as the Bengals defense began to lay down the soundtrack to another postseason run on their opening snaps at seven-on-seven and of their first walk-through at 11 on 11. play of the season during a voluntary practice Tuesday at the Kettering Health practice fields.

“I definitely think we have a little bit more of a sense of urgency to make sure we start with a really high level of communication,” said Wilson, relentlessly productive, just six interceptions away from becoming the most prolific interceptor of the Bengals at linebacker. at the start of its fifth season.

“Because obviously last year we had these communication issues, so we stressed all of that all offseason. Even in the walkthroughs, we try to make sure we communicate too much. If we’re all wrong, it’s okay. “As long as we’re on the same page, we can survive every loss in this league. “

Hubbard considers this an important point following a season where the Bengals ranked among the best plays allowed in the NFL.

Tuesday’s games marked the first snaps for these defenders since they started the 2022 AFC title game in Kansas City, where they limited Patrick Mahomes’ Super Bowl championship offense, which will be soon to be crowned, with two touchdowns. Bell, back after a year’s hiatus, has, according to Wilson, missed nothing in the Bengals’ project.

“It’s like riding a bike,” Bell said after getting your feet wet for about 10 snaps in seven-on-seven.

Hilton contributed to Bell’s game-changing interception for the Bengals in overtime of another AFC championship in KC by simply communicating who had help and where. On Tuesday, Bell was music to his ears.

“With Vonn back, for me personally, having that extra voice behind me, it takes a lot off my mind and allows me to settle in and play my game,” Hilton said. “Another voice who knows the system and knows how to win. The energy was there. Once the ball is thrown, it moves you forward. But from our first snapshot, you can see our communication is where it needs to be .”

Although they’re only a day away, Wilson felt the message had been hammered home enough to carry through the offseason and hit home now. And who better to deliver it than Bell, the man they call “Coach Vonn” and “Sensei”?

“He kind of picked up where he left off,” Wilson said.

According to Bell, it’s not just about being on the same wavelength, “but seeing it through the same lens.”

“I feel like we had really good communication,” Wilson said of Tuesday’s first inning. “Even though a lot of us have been in the system now and know what we should be doing and what we should be in, but just saying it and making sure we’re all on the same page wave can allow us to play high-level football.

“While we’re making adjustments up front with the D-line, we can hear the adjustments in the back. It’s just the way we’ve gelled and created this system and our safeties have to make a lot of adjustments. “

It will never be this early again this year. But Hilton liked the sound of their first day against the offense.

“We got a lot of simple calls, but a lot of voices were echoing,” Hilton said. “A good first step.”