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Bengals Bytes (7/15): Failed era

A look back at when the Bengals went through several failed prospects in search of a franchise quarterback. Who will win the AFC North? A look at the best all-around running back.

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Akili Smith #11

Ogbuehi Gaining Confidence
Cedric Ogbuehi is convinced that the month he spent doing Mixed Martial Arts at Jay Glazer’s Unbreakable Performance Center in Los Angeles is going to pay big dividends on the football field. “I think it’s helped with leverage, sinking my hips, and my overall strength,” Ogbuehi told me. “MMA is all about leverage and I think that helps a ton with my position. “We did a little boxing for stamina and shoulders and wrestling-type movements. It was good work.” Does Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander agree that MMA-style training will help his young left tackle?

Bengals 50: David Klingler & Akili Smith, the failed franchise QBs
The start of David Klingler’s NFL career came as a surprise to nearly everyone involved. Seven years later, Akili Smith knew he might be headed to Cincinnati. What ties them together is that they were the two big swings the Bengals organization took at finding a franchise quarterback in an 11-season stretch that saw it cycle through three head coaches, finish no better than 8-8 in any season and compile a 52-124 record.

Marvin Lewis: Bengals did due diligence before selecting Joe Mixon
No one ever questioned Joe Mixon’s talent. It’s the video of him in 2014 punching a female University of Oklahoma student that has raised questions about the Bengals using a second-round choice on the former OU running back. The Bengals have defended the selection since, including an open letter written by owner Mike Brown as way of explanation.

2017 NFL Preview: Bengals might be able to save Marvin Lewis' job
This will be the Cincinnati Bengals’ 50th anniversary season, with the obligatory celebrations and commemorations of the past. And, if we’re being honest, it’s a reminder of how bad the Bengals’ history has been. That’s a perfect transition to the 2017 Bengals’ season.

The Ickey Shuffle, by Bengal No. 39
Ickey Woods sure didn’t play pro football for long, blowing out a knee in his second season, but his rookie season of 1988 was one to remember as he rushed for 1,066 yards and 15 touchdowns -- and busted out one of the great celebrations in NFL history.

Bengals' revamped offense primed to be one of NFL's best
This will certainly be an interesting year for Bengals faithful. As the Orange & Black prepares for another season of NFL fisticuffs, the state of Cincinnati’s offense should be on the minds of every football purist. The draft was supposed to be a quick fix for the O-line problems created by the loss of two top-tier players. Instead, Marvin Lewis & Co. decided to go Madden NFL 17 on fans. They pumped up the volume on both sides of the ball. But, the offense will be a thing of beauty.

AFC North Bytes

AFC North Q&A: Who wins division and and how many teams make playoffs?
As in most seasons, the divisional race will be tight in Weeks 14 through 17, with two teams ultimately qualifying for the playoffs. The Steelers will win because they might have their best chance at a Super Bowl berth since 2010. Questions persist about the quality of the pass defense, particularly over the middle, but the Steelers keep adding pieces and now have enough athletes to at least match up well in most one-on-ones.

Ronnie Stanley and Alex Lewis are the young core of the Ravens O-Line
There’s been a lot of talk about the Ravens offensive line this offseason. After losing Rick Wagner and trading away Jeremy Zuttah, there are holes to fill. Going into training camp later this month, it’s been a top concern. While there is concern, there’s a lot to be optimistic about. Two young leaders are emerging on the offensive line: Ronnie Stanley and Alex Lewis. They are coming off great rookie seasons and it’s clear they are the young core for this offensive line.

Random Bytes

NFL Nostalgia: Ranking History's Most Clutch Quarterbacks
All truly great quarterbacks are clutch. But not all clutch quarterbacks are truly great. You are about to meet two types of quarterbacks on this countdown. First, there's a group of very good quarterbacks who were at their best at crunch time: in the fourth quarter, in the playoffs, off the bench in a crisis and so on.

Kirk Cousins fully exploited franchise tag; Mike McCarthy debate
It's always interesting watching NFL players react to the big-money contracts NBA players sign in free agency. The whopping deals inked by marginal-to-mediocre hoopers not only elicit envious responses from gridiron greats, but these massive payouts seemingly make the collective rethink contractual viewpoints, particularly when it comes to the amount of guaranteed money included.

Le'Veon Bell, David Johnson or Ezekiel Elliott: Best all-around running back?
As the July 17 deadline approaches for Le'Veon Bell and Pittsburgh to reach a long-term deal -- or proceed with the franchise tag attached for 2017 -- the Steelers star is fielding strong support from a man who knows quite well what life is like for a do-everything back: "I hope he gets the deal he deserves," Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson told the MMQB. "I hope it's going to be the type of deal that cornerbacks get and quarterbacks get."

How the NFL Is Cheating Rookies out of Millions of Dollars
NFL rookies are generally viewed as better seen and not heard. They are drafted, in some cases, to take the jobs of veterans. That makes them threats. And that means rookies often aren't liked by veteran players but merely tolerated. So when longtime NFL players express sympathy for rookies about anything, especially their earning ability, it's significant.

Michael Floyd Suspended 4 Games by NFL for DUI Arrest in December
ESPN's Field Yates reported Friday that Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Michael Floyd will be suspended four games by the NFL for his December DUI arrest. The arrest led to his release by the Arizona Cardinals before signing with the New England Patriots en route to earning a Super Bowl ring.