Bengals Team Report
14 hours, 13 minutes ago
Since he was the top overall pick by the Bengals in 2003, quarterback Carson Palmer has been the face of the franchise. And as the Bengals began offseason workouts last Monday it was clear that he was ready to become the voice.
“I have no problem being the leader of this team if that’s what I am called to do,” Palmer said. “I feel like I’ve got enough experience under my belt to be that guy and we’ve got a great locker room of guys with different types of leaders. I’ll grab the bull by the horns and run with it.”
Always willing to give interviews, Palmer has been making more frequent appearances the past couple weeks. He recorded a message to season ticket holders either thanking them for renewing or reminding those who had not about the upcoming deadline. He also made the rounds on radio during the first day of workouts.
He also had a message for his teammates, getting up in front of them and telling them to “seize the moment”. After playing in only four games last year and entering his seventh season, Palmer knows that his window of opportunities is not as open as it used to be.
“There’s no more ‘Well hopefully next year and next year we’re going to be better. We’re going to be this, we’re going to be that,’” Palmer said. “It’s going into year seven and I feel like I haven’t really played any football yet. I definitely haven’t played in any significant games.
“I realize the more years you put in, the more you can’t look to next year at any point in the season. The time is now. It’s something once you hit years four, five, six years and guys in the NFL realize you can’t look to the future anymore. You need to seize the moment and the year and hopefully this is our year.”
As for the elbow, Palmer says it is 100 percent and had the same offseason routine that he has had as past seasons - throwing three times a week. And like the knee injury three years ago, he said the elbow actually feels stronger than before. However, his throws will be limited during training camp.
“I can already tell my arm has gotten stronger from all the rotator cuff exercises and the small muscles in your shoulder that fire the ball and the forearm muscles,” Palmer said. “I think it’s already stronger now, I just have to keep it up during the season.”
Preseason dates have been announced. It’s one Friday and three Thursday preseason games for the Bengals. They will open at New Orleans on Friday, Aug. 14 at 8 p.m. followed by three straight Thursday night games at 7:30 at New England (Aug. 20) and then home to St. Louis (Aug. 27) and Indianapolis (Sept. 3).
Cincinnati has not visited the Superdome for a preseason game since 1989 and hasn’t gone to Foxboro for an exhibition since 1990. It also marks the first time since the 1988 Hall of Fame game that the Bengals have faced the Rams in the preseason. They will close against the Colts.
• When asked about his thoughts of the NFL expanding the schedule, Palmer said he liked it at 16 games. With most teams under a gag order to not talk about anything to do with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Lewis quickly turned the discussion back to the offseason program.
• After the Vikings matched the offer sheet on Fahu Tahi, it looks as if the Bengals will now look to fill their need for a fullback in the draft, where they should be able to get one in the middle rounds. The Bengals had kept contact with the agent for Packers fullback John Kuhn, but it looks as if they have lost interest.
• The following is a rough list of prospects who are visiting the Bengals: Ole Miss offensive tackle Michael Oher, Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith, Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, Connecticut running back Donald Brown, Auburn guard Tyronne Green, Liberty running back Rashad Jennings, Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry, Louisville center Eric Wood and BYU fullback Fui Vakapuna.
University of Cincinnati defensive end Connor Barwin, defensive backs DeAngelo Smith and Mike Mickens and punter Kevin Huber will visit on April 14 when the Bengals have workouts for local players.
Quote To Note: “Anytime you have the season that we did last year, everyone you should be embarrassed. It makes you want to come back this offseason and this year and shove it back in everyone’s face.”—Bengals running back Cedric Benson on the mood of the team.
Strategy And Personnel
TEAM NEEDS/OFFSEASON STRATEGY
After a spending spree of nearly $14.5 million against this year’s salary cap during the first seven days of free agency, the Bengals are done with any major signings. They will see about making minor additions at fullback and to add depth on the offensive line before next month’s draft.
Another thing to watch is if the team will entertain trade offers for wide receiver Chad Ocho Cinco.
1. Offensive tackle: Stacy Andrews departed for the Eagles and Levi Jones is injury prone. With the Bengals having the sixth pick in the draft, highly rated prospects Eugene Monroe of Virginia and Mississippi’s Michael Oher could be available.
2. Center: Three-year starter Eric Ghiaciuc is a likely departure in free agency, and the Bengals’ backups are unproven. An extremely intriguing pick in the second round would be Louisville’s Eric Wood, a Cincinnati native. Wood, along with Oregon’s Max Unger and Cal’s Alex Mack, are the top center prospects available in the draft.
3. Defensive line: The Bengals had only 17 sacks last season and were inconsistent in pressuring the quarterback. John Thornton, who was one of the leaders, is expected to depart in free agency.
Medical Watch: No updates.
FRANCHISE PLAYER: PK Shayne Graham: Tendered at $2.483M.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
• CB Jamar Fletcher signed with the Bengals after Week 3 and made two starts. He is best suited as a nickel corner and is not a high priority to re-sign.
• C Eric Ghiaciuc started all 16 games for the first time in his career. He is a good pass blocker but has been overmatched against nose tackles in the AFC North. He is not expected to return.
• DT John Thornton has been one of the emotional leaders of the defense during his six-year stay with the club. The team is looking at the possibility of bringing him back in a reserve role.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered)
• S John Busing (not tendered as RFA) saw most of his action on special teams and limited action in the secondary.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
• LB Rashad Jeanty (tendered at $1.545M with second-round pick as compensation) made 15 starts and was fourth on the team in tackles and second on special teams. He is a disruptive pass rusher and good tackler.
• LB Brandon Johnson (tendered at $1.545M with second-round pick as compensation) started the last nine games after rookie Keith Rivers was injured and was second on the team in tackles. He is very quick and an effective pass rusher.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
• WR Laveranues Coles: UFA Jets; $28M/4 yrs, $3M SB/$4.75M RB; 2009 cap: $7.45M.
• QB J.T. O’Sullivan: UFA 49ers; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
• P Ryan Plackemeier (waivers Redskins).
• RB Cedric Benson: UFA; $7M/2 yrs, guarantees unknown.
• LB/DE Darryl Blackstock: Potential UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
• FB/TE Daniel Coats: Potential ERFA; terms unknown.
• S Chris Crocker: UFA; $10M/4 yrs, $3.5M SB.
• RB DeDe Dorsey (not tendered as RFA); terms unknown.
• DT Orien Harris: ERFA; terms.
• OT Stacy Andrews: UFA Eagles, $40.98M/6 yrs, guarantees unknown.
• QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: UFA Bills; $6.9M/3 yrs, guarantees unknown.
• WR Glenn Holt: Not tendered as RFA/Vikings; 1 yr, terms unknown.
• WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh: UFA Seahawks; $40M/5 yrs, $15M guaranteed.
• S Dexter Jackson (released().
• LB Corey Mays: Not tendered as RFA/Chiefs; terms unknown.