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Dax Hill already making calls with 1st team Bengals defense with Jessie Bates out

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Cincinnati Bengals fans were eager to see how first-round safety Dax Hill might handle the challenge of stepping up in training camp while Jessie Bates was out.

Turns out he made an impact from Day 1.

Hill, tasked with essentially getting thrown to the wolves while replacing a near All-Pro player in practice, worked with defensive captains in the secondary and even linebackers while learning how to call the defense and get people where they need to go.

Coaches say Hill, while being the only major piece of a Super Bowl defense that’s changed, has already stepped up and looked good.

“As a young player and being the only different piece — take Logan (Wilson’s) injury for what it is — to go out there and communicate and make calls and to not freeze,” safeties coach Robert Livingston said, according to The Athletic’s Jay Morrison. “On Day 1 if you don’t do that, you can grow from there. He did a good job. But in training camp, some days he’ll be the best in the world and some days he’ll suck. It’s just what it is. But good first day, and we’ll just keep it moving.”

As noted, this won’t always be the case. But we already knew Hill had wicked athleticism and range that lets him play many roles, including all cornerback spots. The fact he’s working the mental side of the game as soon as camp starts while repping with the first team is a good development.

Call this a fun silver lining of the Bates holdout — Hill wouldn’t get these reps otherwise. Now they’ll likely be on the field together next season.

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Story originally appeared on Bengals Wire