First things first. The remaining offseason schedule.
- May 19-21, 26 and 28: On-field coaching sessions (OTAs).
- June 2-4, 9, 11 and 15: On-field coaching sessions (OTAs).
- June 18-20: Full-squad mandatory minicamp.
- Players and coaches report to Georgetown (Ky.) College for training camp on July 30.
+ It's easy to forget that, even though we have Chad Johnson -- who is perhaps the most divisive player when it comes to fans -- and Chris Henry, that we have Laveranues Coles. I mean, we know he's a Bengals wide receiver right now. It still doesn't prevent us from forgetting about him. Then again, as Geoff Hobson points out, he's just a pro getting into the flow of things.
"Of course, I'm a little bit out of what I'm used to doing but this is what they brought me into play so I'm just trying to learn my way around and try to do exactly what they're asking me at this point," Coles says. "It's a new deal. I'm dealing with new coaches, a new system. I just go with the flow."
If Chad's season amounts to anything like before 2008, and Coles and Caldwell replace Houshmandzadeh's contributions, and Simpson and Henry burn past the Steelers secondary, then we're in business brother. Good business. Kick ass and taking names. Like Troy Polamalu. Deshea Townsend. Ike Taylor. Keiwan Ratliff. Oh, I can't wait until we match-up with Ratliff.
+ I know some people aren't as encouraging with Andrew Whitworth moving to left tackle. And honestly, their point is very sound. Think of it this way. We had Whitworth playing left guard, a position that he's accustomed to. We had Anthony Collins who was coming into his own at left tackle. Plug in Andre Smith at right tackle and boom. You have an offensive line. A big offensive line at that. I honestly think that it's a fair point to be made and in the world of right and wrong, it's not a wrong point, it's not the right point.
I also think moving Whitworth to left tackle is a good move. Because making the move now, making it concrete, enables the Bengals to stop the game of musical-chair-linemen, allows Whitworth to do whatever he has to do to prepare at left tackle. He's a hell of a talent, so I have faith that he can handle the position. This time, unlike the disaster against the Colts in 2006 where Dwight Freeney just owned him, or against Trent Cole in 2008, Whitworth now has time and experience behind him. He'll have an off-season of preparation and adjustment. I think he's more than capable with Pro Bowl talent. Yep, that's me going out on a limb. I know. It's weird.
Back to the other point that I just can't find myself backing though, is the whole left open at left guard. You're taking Whitworth out, replacing with Nate Livings. Look, I like Livings. Thought he was just as impressive as Collins while the Bengals had to shuffle personnel because of injury. What's the stronger lineup? Whitworth at left guard with Collins and Smith at tackle? Or Whitworth at left tackle with Livings at guard and Collins on the bench?
Chick Ludwig said of Collins:
I’ve been told by numerous scouts and NFL insiders that he’s the kind of guy who needs to be put in a competitive situation.
I'm going to give the Bengals the benefit of the doubt on this one, knowing the strengths of their respective players. On the other hand, I would have been a lot more comfortable if they addressed guard in the draft. But that's then. No point in going back on that now.
More on the offensive line front.
If Andrew Whitworth is the leader of the offensive line, which now he is, then Bobbie Williams is the speaker of the house.
"Kyle was spitting out the defenses and I like hearing that. As for Andre, he can definitely move. I'm interested in seeing the full bloom. He's a bud. He listens. He's not coming in here as a know-it-all."
No matter how you cut it, the Bengals offensive line will be different. Williams will be the only player starting at the same offensive line position he started in 2008, if Whitworth sticks to left tackle. And different is good. That's what we called for. That's what we complained about. Is it better? It has to be!
"Most different locker room. Most different attitude. Most different work ethic," he said. "I've said it all along. It's going to be a great year. I'm excited. We've got a lot of leadership. A lot of guys that want it. You don't always have to have the best talent. It's not about having the most guys under 4.4 (speed). It's having the most guys that want to work hard every day and practice and work at it and that's what we've got a locker room of."
"We've got guys that want to work that are here," he said. "We've got guys that want those spots, that want to play in that position. They're competing, they're battling. That's all you can ask."
+ James Walker has issue with Andre Smith moving to right tackle, because comparatively speaking, a high draft pick, at least the six pick, will be the highest paid lineman on the team, and therefore the left tackle. I actually can't fault him. We made the same argument before. However, it is what it is. And if it helps the Bengals win, then screw it. We'll have a $50 million-plus right tackle. There's worse things that could be on the team. Like Michael Vick.
My conspiracy theory is the Bengals are doing whatever they can at this moment to get the asking price lowered on Smith's humongous rookie contract, which is expected to start in the range of $50 million. No team wants to pay that kind of money to an unproven rookie, especially the notoriously frugal Bengals.
I hate to break it to Walker, but the Bengals aren't that clever. They can't manipulate a set of slotted positions, in which they pay Smith less than the fifth pick (a freaking quarterback nonetheless) and more than the seventh pick, by claiming in a press conference that Smith is a right tackle. They might want to do that. They may have even tried. But to actually make it happen? Milk explodes through my nasal passages at warp speed (go see the new Star Trek, it's good).
I also questioned Walker's position battle in Cincinnati between Maualuga and Brandon Johnson. Johnson is the backup to Keith Rivers. Maualuga is the backup to Rashad Jeanty. I'm not sure if there is a competition battle here. But that's just semantics.
More news and notes.
How does our precious God of the Golden Arms feel?
“I threw only a couple long ones it but felt like before I ever hurt my elbow. The arm felt great and the elbow felt great,” Palmer said.
Rey Maualuga is second behind Rashad Jeanty at strong outside linebacker for the moment. Any bets when he'll start? Note: Cincy Jungle does not condone bets because we honor the law and think that the more laws we have, the better! Seriously. Honestly. I'm not a Libertarian.
In the same link above, Joe Reedy writes that "Bob Bratkowski said the offense is slightly ahead as far as putting in the new system while Palmer said that they were right about where he thought they would be."
Maualuga and Keith Rivers are together again. Speaking of which, here's a Maualuga quote:
“It’s something I think I can learn from Jeanty, (Darryl) Blackstock and all the other (outside linebackers),” Maualuga said. “It’s nothing I can’t do, it’s just something that is going to take a lot of coaching. I can see myself doing a good job at it.”
Does that sound like the guy that we've kept hearing about? His attitude and perspective have been far more impressive than we've been led to believe.