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Bengals Bites (1/29): News and links

Stories and notes regarding the Bengals and the NFL. You can use this as an open thread too.

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Special teams emerge as big part of '14 template
What better way to cut down on the offensive mistakes than relying more on the battle-tested Bengals defense and special teams?

The Walkthrough: Bengals Super Bowl Connections
The way players bounce around the NFL like a Flubber pinball you would assume every team has ties to players and coaches up and down the rosters of the two teams. That’s partially true. The Seahawks were predominantly built from within. They bring an extremely young team mostly drafted themselves and in the first four years of their NFL careers.

The Tricks of Kicking at MetLife, from the Men Who Know
Besides all the dressings that will adorn MetLife Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday, another was once considered: flaps. The idea of adding something along the lines of oversized window shutters to the exterior of the stadium, to shield the inside from the elements, was broached during an early planning meeting between the NFL and the Super Bowl XLVIII host committee. But ultimately, an NFL spokesman recalls, the verdict was they were "not necessary." The league will take its chances with the cold, and with the notorious Meadowlands winds.

These Are 12 of the Best Super Bowl Photos of All Time
Sports are often great theater, and perhaps no game better encapsulates that fact than the Super Bowl. From the thousands of flash bulbs at kickoff, to the light show at halftime, to the confetti dropping after the final whistle, the entire game is designed to manufacture spectacle. And yet, it's also an event seen by millions and photographed by hundreds of professionals at once.

Adam Gase, Denver Broncos offensive coordinator, reflects on decisions not to interview for head coaching jobs
Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase recently turned down the opportunity to interview for two head coaching jobs in order to be right where he hoped to be this week –- getting ready for a Super Bowl.

Jonathan Martin: 'I felt trapped'
"I’m a grown man," Martin told Tony Dungy in a portion of an interview that aired on NBC News tonight. "I’ve been in locker rooms. There’s vulgar languages in locker rooms. One instance doesn’t bother me. It’s the persistence of it. "I wish I would have had more tools to solve my situation. I felt trapped, like I didn’t have a way to make it right. It came down to a point where I thought it was best just to remove myself from the situation."

Dolphins await report on Jonathan Martin's allegations
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross says he spoke with the NFL and the attorney who investigated the team's bullying scandal to get a sense of what will be included in their forthcoming report on the case. "I have an idea what will be in it," Ross said Tuesday. "I haven't seen the report. I don't know exactly what his conclusion is. When it comes out, we'll do what has to be done. In my mind, I know what direction we're going."

Stephen Ross says Jonathan Martin, Richie Incognito unlikely to return to Miami Dolphins
"I don't believe so," Ross said candidly. Miami's owner quickly tried to backtrack after realizing what he said. But Ross' honest answer was already out to the public. "Well, I can't say that. Therefore, I retract that," Ross said laughing. "One is a free agent, by the way, the other is on our roster."

Warren Sapp Says Michael Strahan, Selected to Same Number of Pro Bowls and All Pros as Sapp, Unworthy of the Hall of Fame
Warren Sapp does not like Michael Strahan, and if he had his way, Strahan would not be in the Hall of Fame. "I don’t think his resume stacks up when you put Tony Dungy, Walter Jones, Marvin Harrison and Derrick Brooks up. Those are four first-ballot Hall of Famers."

Michael Strahan responds to Warren Sapp's criticism of his Hall of Fame candidacy
"Football was part of my life, but it is not my entire life," said the former New York Giants defensive end, who's one of 15 finalists for Saturday's Pro Football Hall of Fame election. "So for some guys, maybe that's their entire life and that's all they have to hold onto. Playing football, sacking quarterbacks, that was part of my life, and I did it and I moved on. The tiger does not pay attention to the opinion of the sheep."

Richard Sherman’s 10 Thoughts Leading Up to Super Bowl XLVIII
1. No one has ever made himself great by showing how small someone else is. That’s not mine. It belongs to Irvin Himmel. Somebody tweeted it at me after the NFC Championship Game. If I could pass a lesson on to the kids it would be this: Don’t attack anybody.

Kubiak brings history with high-scoring, active offenses to the Ravens
As the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos from 2000 to 2006, Larry Coyer went against Gary Kubiak's offense every day in practice. In the same role with the Indianapolis Colts from 2009 to 2011, Coyer was forced to deal with Kubiak's Houston Texans' offenses twice a year in games. He knew exactly what to expect — the play-action passes and bootlegs, the stretch runs, the zone-blocking scheme — yet it never got any easier to stop. That's why when Coyer heard the news Monday that the Ravens had hired Kubiak as their offensive coordinator and his long-time lieutenant Rick Dennison as their quarterback coach, he immediately thought of Joe Flacco and Ray Rice and imagined the possibilities.

DeMaurice Smith applauds Northwestern players for attempt to unionize
The battle lines have been drawn between a group of college football players at Northwestern and the NCAA. The players believe they are "employees" within the letter of federal labor law. The NCAA believes they aren't.

Chris Johnson tweets knee surgery went perfectly
Titans running back Chris Johnson says surgery to repair torn meniscus in his knee went perfectly. Johnson shared an update after his surgery Tuesday on Twitter. He also wrote, ''now lets get on the grind.''

Marshawn Lynch of Seattle Seahawks snubs reporters at Super Bowl media day
In his few minutes of talking with the media, Lynch said his fans weren't worried about what he would say. "They just want to make sure I show up to perform," he said.

Monte Kiffin loses Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator title to Rod Marinelli - ESPN Dallas
Presiding over the worst defense in Dallas Cowboys history has earned Monte Kiffin a new job title. Kiffin was named assistant head coach/defense on Tuesday night, while Rod Marinelli was promoted to defensive coordinator.

Josh McCown can envision return to Chicago Bears
Bears free-agent quarterback Josh McCown said on Tuesday he can envision returning to the Bears in free agency even if another team offers the 11-year veteran a starting job when the new league year begins on March 11. The Bears cannot officially re-sign McCown, who inked a one-year veteran minimum deal with the team last offseason, until the beginning of free agency, but the club does hold exclusive negotiating rights with the quarterback until that time.

Sherman hunting for greatness and attention -- and that's fine
A week or so ago, Richard Sherman apologized for taking attention away from his Seattle teammates. He then tried to lay low by conducting exclusive interviews with CNN and ESPN, and writing his weekly columns on It was an unusual approach, I suppose, but this is Sherman. His larynx should file for workman's comp.

Bell: Knowshon Moreno's resiliency shaped by his childhood
It wasn't five minutes into Knowshon Moreno's shift behind a podium during the latest edition of Super Bowl Media Day when the Denver Broncos running back was struck by one of those This Is Your Life moments that keep popping up this week.

A guide to what you missed at the 2014 Super Bowl media day | For The Win
Super Bowl media day is by nature a circus in itself. With hundreds of reporters, dozens of football players and coaches gathered into one room there's always more than a few priceless moments. Here's our favorites from the day so far:

Former FCC Chairman: I Wasn't That Outraged At Janet Jackson's Boob
Remember that boob? It's one of the most famous boobs ever. Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" was why the few subsequent Super Bowl halftime shows were safe, old, boobless acts like Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen. And it wasn't even on TV for a whole second!