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Bengals Bytes (8/17): Sincerest form of flattery

The Bengals’ had their rookie talent show, and John Ross pulled out his best Marvin Lewis impression. Andy Dalton thinks A.J. Green is having his best camp. Michael Bennett makes another statement on the national anthem.

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-John Ross Press Conference Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports

NFLPA president Winston on NFL accusation: 'We're going to go right at 'em.'
Shortly before heading out to practice Wednesday afternoon in Cincinnati, Eric Winston’s phone rang – the NFL Players Association president needed to be looped into a heated and very public back-and-forth between the National Football League and the NFL Players Association surrounding the forthcoming appeal of suspended Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Camp report: Green's best camp? Dalton agrees; Ross-Lewis rookie show hit
When in doubt, always give it to wide receiver A.J. Green. When you pick a six-time Pro Bowler, how can you go wrong? Especially in this training camp. Want to hear something scary? Talk to enough people at Paul Brown Stadium and they’ll tell you his seventh camp is the best one he’s ever had. “I would agree with that,” said quarterback Andy Dalton after Wednesday’s practice, the last full-scale workout before Saturday’s game (7 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) at PBS against the Chiefs. And who should know best? Dalton has thrown to him in every camp. “The technique he has done every route, you can tell he’s put a lot of work in the little details of it and it showed,” Dalton said.

Lewis News Conference Transcript 8/16
From the offensive point of view, there were a lot of things going on with different looks. But the offense, with where they are in instillation and the other things they were working on, doesn’t always match up with the defense and what they see in the film study prior to practice as they install plays and know what to expect. They have to revert to certain things. So, it was good that they had to understand the situation about where that particular drill was, what the focus was and making sure we get refocused correctly when they watch the tape after practice on Monday, because they weren’t at their sharpest and it kind of snowballs.

Gifted call: Freeze Frame for Mike Brown and Adam Jones
The call came in a little late from the sidelines but like he does on the football field, Bengals cornerback Adam Jones made it work with a little improvisation and a lot of heart. “We cut it right down to the wire,” says Shawn Voelker, who helped him pull it off. “I picked it up from Frame & Save in Florence and got it to him at about 10:30, 11 on the morning of the 10th.” Aug. 10 was Bengals president Mike Brown’s 82nd birthday and his 50th with the franchise he helped start with his father Paul Brown. He’s had Super Bowls and Pro Bowls and division titles in both the AFC Central and North besting the dreaded Steelers. But Mike Brown never got a gift like this. Not from a current player.

John Ross imitates Marvin Lewis in Bengals' rookie talent show
John Ross imitated Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis. Jake Elliott created a throwback Instagram of embarrassing photos, and Ryan Glasgow badly butchered the national anthem. "They had the idea that they should start off with the national anthem,"Elliott said. "It didn't go so well."

Observations from Cincinnati Bengals training camp: Aug. 16
The Cincinnati Bengals held their final full practice of training camp Wednesday, and the first one void of any fans. After a walk-through Thursday, the Bengals will take Friday off and then face Kansas City on Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium. After that, the schedule shifts into regular-season mode, where media are kicked out of practice after 30 minutes.

Bengals Walkthru: The three QB question
On this week’s Bengals Beat Podcast, Jim and I got into a healthy discussion about the need to keep three quarterbacks. Last year, the Bengals swooped in picking up Jeff Driskel off the waiver wire when he was cut by San Francisco following final cuts. The 2016 sixth-round pick of the 49ers spent all year on the team’s 53. This marked the first year since gameday rosters were expanded to 46 and the third-QB restriction rule was lifted that the Bengals kept more than two quarterbacks on the roster.

AFC North Bytes

Coach John Harbaugh undaunted by Ravens escalating injuries
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh’s steely resolve is being tested with nine players already lost for the season because of injuries, suspension or retirement. Nonetheless, Harbaugh contends the Ravens have enough depth to overcome those challenges.

Brock Osweiler Starting Browns vs. Giants, DeShone Kizer Elevated to 2nd String
Brock Osweiler will start the Cleveland Browns' Monday preseason game against the New York Giants, but DeShone Kizer will be right behind him on the depth chart. Browns head coach Hue Jackson made his decision public Wednesday, as the team announced on Twitter. Osweiler will start, Kizer will follow and Cody Kessler will serve as the third quarterback.

Random Bytes

Michael Bennett: A White Player Sitting for Anthem Would 'Get Things Changed'
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett said Wednesday that a white player taking part in a national anthem protest would change the perception of the demonstration. In an interview on SportsCenter (h/t, Bennett discussed why a white player kneeling or sitting during the anthem would be a significant step

Alex Smith on Colin Kaepernick: 'Crazy to Think That He's Not Playing'
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is among those surprised to still see Colin Kaepernick available in free agency this offseason. "When I was there, he was playing at a really, really high level," Smith said Wednesday, according to Jeff Fedotin of Yahoo Sports. "Crazy to think that he's not playing."

Fantasy Football Mock Draft 2017: Round-by-Round Expert Projections
Now that it's mid-August, fantasy football draft season is kicking into overdrive. Fantasy drafters prepare in all sorts of ways for the big day, including cheat sheets with player rankings. But perhaps the most valuable tool is taking a dry run by participating in a mock draft.