Assuming that Cedric Benson enters the season as the team's running back, five running backs will compete for two spots. Even though the competition could be fierce, I strongly believe, barring injury, that the team's depth will look like Benson, Brian Leonard and Bernard Scott. Benson is obvious. Leonard can play fullback and is noted with good hands out of the backfield (versatility goes a long way on this team). Scott has the speed to turn corners and the talent for a change-of-pace back behind Benson. Players like DeDe Dorsey, James Johnson and Kenny Watson figure to be fighting hard for a job, which is a far cry from the Rudi Johnson, Chris Perry, Kenny Watson, DeDe Dorsey and James Johnson setup we had last season.
Keith Rivers and Rey Maualuga, USC linebacker tandem flanking Dhani Jones at Middle Linebacker, are both playing with something to prove. Rivers wants to rebound after an injury-shortened season. Maualuga wants to prove to be better than a second-round draft pick. They stuck around on Saturday to hang with fans.
Former USC teammates Keith Rivers and Rey Maualuga were the last players to leave the field. Both signed autographs for more than a half hour for fans who rimmed the front row near the tunnel that leads to the home locker room.
Peter Warrick, wide receiver for the Bloomington Extreme in the Indoor Football League, still has a desire to get back into the NFL.
Notes from James Walker's observations this weekend, who was in town observing the Bengals minicamp:
- "...based on this minicamp it's safe to assume the early leaders in the race to be Cincinnati's No. 3 receiver are Chris Henry and Andre Caldwell."
- "Ochocinco looked explosive and had few problems separating from defenders. He also caught a long touchdown pass from quarterback Carson Palmer in Saturday's practice and had some fun with the fans."
- "I felt the offensive line was a little shaky early in camp and gradually improved."
- "Fullback/tailback Brian Leonard, who was recently acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Rams, is getting a lot of carries at tailback..."
- "Backups J.T. O'Sullivan and Jordan Palmer are making good throws here and there but probably not enough to play winning football."
- "Caldwell looks more polished and confident in what he's doing in his second year during this minicamp, while Simpson still looks rough around the edges."
The Enquirer's Joe Reedy will be out for a couple of weeks, recharging the batteries for training camp. That just gives you more reason to come to Cincy Jungle for all of your Cincinnati Bengals needs.
Marvin Lewis is now old school:
"When you have a mental error, there are only two ways to handle it. Put another guy in his spot, or just a reminder. Those things will hurt us. That's the first step. The next step is stand beside me or you're on the street."
Hall of Famer Randy White was on the sidelines when Bernard Scott played in the Texas vs. The Nation game. White said that "he had not seen a running back do some of the things Scott did since Walter Payton".
Rating defenses on, what Pat Kirwin calls, "the money down".
The players garnering most of the headlines this offseason are receivers. We're surprised?