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Bengals Bytes (8/19): Falling into line

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Christian Westerman is looking for a spot on the Bengals’ offensive line. One Giants’ writer says the team shouldn’t trade for Jeremy Hill. Le’Veon Bell reportedly turned down a massive contract.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Minicamp Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Another day at the shop for the son of the detail man
It seems Jordan Willis has yet to crack a smile in his bid to become that next versatile edge pass rusher the Bengals need to pick up the torch. His father, the detail man, has seen the same markings before. Just the other day he mentioned it to his wife. “He’s so much like me now,” Calvin Willis says, “it’s almost scary. He takes everything very seriously. He knows what he wants and he goes after it. He stays focused and just wants to get better every day.”

Fan Focus: Crazy Grandma Thanks Law Enforcement
My mom and I have only recently become season ticket holders, but we have attended all Bengals home games faithfully for the past five years. My mom’s name is Carol Hanifin and she is affectionately known at home, in Paul Brown Stadium and in the community as Crazy Grandma. She is crazy because she LOVES her Bengals, her family, and the men and women who serve our great country in the Armed Forces and as first responders.

Bengals vs. Chiefs Game Notes
When the Cincinnati Bengals host the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium, Bengals coaches figure to assign more playing time for the first-team offense and first-team defense than they did in last week’s 23-12 win over Tampa Bay in the preseason opener. Comprised mostly of veterans, those starting units will be depended upon to lead the team in the 2017 regular season, and against the Buccaneers, they played with intact lineups for only one drive each.

Preseason Game 2: Can Joe Mixon repeat last week's performance?
Joe Mixon put on a performance last week, averaging 5.2 yards-per-carry against the Bucs' first and second-team defense and catching a pass for 11 yards in one half of game play. Mixon was also lined up out wide on one play, which is an interesting possibility for the future. How much can Mixon do? Only the rest of the preseason will tell.

Jeremy Hill Rumors: Giants Don’t Need Bengals’ Running Back
For the past few days there has been a lot of Internet chatter about the idea of the New York Giants making a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals to acquire running back Jeremy Hill. That, by the way, isn’t even a rumor. To my knowledge, it isn’t something either team is actually even considering.

Westerman trying to find a role on Bengals reshaped line
Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander smiled and said the calendar is telling him he has to find his “best five” offensive linemen. But, with three preseason games left and over three weeks left before the home opener against Baltimore on Sept. 10, he wasn’t ready to name any starters or set lineup. But, as practice reps shook out in front of the public and media through this past week in training camp, it was clear Trey Hopkins had taken the inside track at right guard and last year’s fifth-round pick, Christian Westerman, was settling in behind Boling on the left side.

Bengals vs Chiefs: What to look for in Week 2 action
The Kansas City Chiefs roll into town for a Saturday night battle under the bright lights. Though it’s just a preseason skirmish, there are still things to look at before the season gets under way. Week 1 was a positive shot in the arm for the Men in Stripes. But, this Kansas City team boasts a defense that can be dominant in spurts. If fans want a good assessment of where this Cincinnati Bengals offense is, this is the right game to watch.

Bengals Walkthru: Talking about Willis
We spent much of this week writing about players we thought earned more playing time – more specifically, earlier playing time – in the second preseason game tomorrow. If you play well in the late portion of the first game, coaches want to see if you can replicate the showing against the first team of the next opponent. Or if you were just a product of being among third-stringers.

AFC North Bytes

Le'Veon Bell Reportedly Blocked 5-Year Steelers Contract After Agent Made Deal
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell reportedly turned down a five-year contract agreement between the organization and his agent shortly before the July 17 deadline to reach long-term extensions with players who received the franchise tag. On Friday, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted the Steelers "thought they had an agreement" on a deal worth more than $12 million per season following discussions with the offensive playmaker's representation, but Bell nixed the potential re-signing at the "last minute."

5 storylines to know as Browns conclude training camp
In what was an otherwise picturesque three weeks, the Browns concluded training camp on a stormy, muggy Thursday afternoon. In that span, head coach Hue Jackson said his team got better in more ways than one. “We’re physically better than where we were a year ago. We are more mentally tougher,” he said after the team's final practice.

Jeremy Zuttah Reportedly Agrees to 2-Year Contract with Baltimore Ravens
Per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Zuttah signed a two-year deal worth $4 million in base salary and incentives that can push it up to $6 million. The Ravens traded Zuttah to the San Francisco 49ers in March. He was released by the Niners on Aug. 9, as the team created an opening for Tim Barnes and Daniel Kilgore's ability to play center and guard for head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Random Bytes

Zachary Orr Retires Due to Spine Injury After Brief Comeback Attempt
Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Zachary Orr announced Friday he's re-entering retirement after failing to receive medical clearance from 17 NFL teams during his comeback attempt. Orr posted an article on The Players Tribune detailing his decision to make another effort to play football and his inability to get a "green light" from any team doctors due to a spine injury. So he's decided to give up his dream of getting back on the gridiron.

Kaepernick makes plenty of sense for Jacksonville
Forget about last year’s anthem protests, which Colin Kaepernick has made clear through intermediaries he won’t repeat. Focus only on his skills, and how they would fit with a team that hopes build an offense around running the football. That’s what the Jaguars want to do. And Kaepernick, who averaged 6.8 yards per attempt a year ago, allows them to do that. (On PFT Live, Josh Norris referred to Kaepernick as a fantasy-football “cheat code,” given his ability to consistently pick up extra points with his legs.)

George Fant of Seattle Seahawks suffers season-ending ACL injury
Seattle Seahawks left tackle George Fant tore his ACL in his right knee during Friday's preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings and will have to undergo season-ending surgery. Fant suffered the injury with 8 minutes, 49 seconds left in the second quarter. He was moving backward in pass protection when teammate Justin Britt, who was on the ground, rolled into him. Fant immediately went to the ground and clutched the knee.

NFL Preseason Week 2 Roundup: Lacy Still Has Everything to Prove with Seahawks
The preseason is about opportunities, and seizing them. But when the opposite happens to a former star player and he fails, there can be a thunderous thud. And thunderous thuds are mostly what Eddie Lacy has become known for recently.