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Morning Bites (10/25): Bengals news and links

Taking a look at the stories concerning the Cincinnati Bengals and the NFL.

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Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

Burfict leads Bengals' defense statistically, emotionally
Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer set out to unload more responsibility on Vontaze Burfict this season. Zimmer loves his characteristics as a linebacker – emotional and edgy, intelligent and intense.

Bengals' Andy Dalton enjoying latest laugh
For now, the coy smile and sly grin from underneath the black Cincinnati Bengals hat will have to suffice.

Bengals seek first 4-0 home start since 1988
Sunday represents an opportunity for the Bengals to start the season 4-0 at home for the first time since the Super Bowl year of 1988.

Battle-tested Bengals line braces for Jets D
The start of the regular season was still several months away, but Cincinnati Bengals right guard Kevin Zeitler began preparing anyway...

The Walkthrough: What About Gresham Edition?
For the last three seasons Jermaine Gresham has been an enigma. He’s a two-time Pro Bowl tight end but has a lot of self doubt because his numbers aren’t at the same level as Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski. Yet, there are only three tight ends in league history that have 50 receptions or more in their first three seasons — Mike Ditka, Keith Jackson and Gresham.

The Morning Line, 10/24, Dalton hits the classroom
MARVIN JONES said during Beyond The Stripes Tuesday that in the offseason, he’s going to do some TV work in LA. He’d be great at it. Glib, pleasant, million-dollar smile, easy on the eyes. During his Tuesday reappearance on the show, I asked him why he thought A. Dalton had made a quantum leap in recent weeks. After Cleveland and Pittsburgh, Dalton left us all wondering if he were The Guy.

Bengals' Andrew Hawkins happy back at practice
Andrew Hawkins returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since injuring his ankle at a training camp practice and being placed on the injured reserve-designated to return list.

Countdown Daily Prediction: NYJ-CIN
ESPN Video: The NFL Live crew make their picks for the New York Jets at Cincinnati.

Inside the Huddle with John Clayton
ESPN Video: Inside the Huddle goes deep on Week 7: Eight QBs age 25 or younger have won games in the 4th quarter, there have been 102 100-yard receiver days in 107 games and defenses are beginning to limit the Broncos after catch yards.

USA TODAY Sports' Week 8 NFL predictions
For our money, Cowboys-Lions is the most intriguing game in a weak bunch — kind of like Dallas' first-place standing in the NFC East — even if our panel of experts universally picks Detroit to win.

AFC East stars are at the top of Mel Kiper's rookie rankings (Insider)
He hasn't been able to break off a big run and has seen his average yards per carry drop in recent weeks, but his role in the offense is more defined and his versatility is obvious. With Bernard, you have to talk about the role in the passing game. He's already hauled in 25 receptions and is on pace for about 1,100 total yards, and it's still early.

NFL MVP Projection: Colts QB Andrew Luck vaults up to No. 2 spot
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck shot up the MVP Projection list after leading his team to a win over Peyton Manning and the Broncos.

Nate Jackson discusses life after concussions as an ex-NFL player=
By Nate Jackson My first football injury was a concussion, in my first season of organized football. It was my freshman year of high school and it was in practice. Our free-safety saw red and teed off on me, the pubescent scout-team freshman.

Players have different opinions about how football needs to change on head trauma issue
There is no philosophical divide in the NFL quite like the one between offensive and defensive players when it comes to player safety and concussions. We spoke with five leaders from five teams in five different positions in an effort to take the pulse of the players.

NFL draft will be impacted as concussion awareness grows in football
Jahvid Best had everything teams seek in a running back. That’s why the Detroit Lions traded up in April 2010 to take the former Cal star with the 30th pick in the NFL draft. "He has magic as a runner, things you can't coach," coach Jim Schwartz told the team Web site at the time.

Rodney Harrison said something stupid about Josh Freeman
Rodney Harrison said something stupid, and people are eating it up. Is that because people are stupid? No, I don't think so. But I do think people can be gullible, and I'm positive people want to believe the worst about new Vikings quarterback Josh Freeman -- your fault, Schiano -- and so I do think that when Harrison, an NFL analyst for NBC, suggested Freeman is faking his concussion, people believed what they wanted to believe.

Brett Favre: 'God only knows the toll' concussions took
Retired quarterback admits already forgetting some details about his family life while spurning NFL comeback.

Scout: Jadeveon Clowney has 'huge flag' but may be next Julius Peppers
NFL scout says South Carolina defensive end has some explaining to do, but his draft stock will probably be just fine.

Short-yardage plays can cause large headaches for certain teams
Making the right call in third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 situations can be the difference between winning and losing for NFL coaches.

Top Ten with a Twist: Those whose jobs are in jeopardy
Here are the top 10 people who might have a hard time retaining their current employment.