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Bengals Bytes (8/26): Final rush

Chris Smith has a great opportunity to solidify his spot on the Bengals 53-man roster Sunday. The Bengals show some of their new food items for next season. The Patriots may have suffered a huge blow to their receiving group.

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NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Lewis kids you not; Pro Bowl test on edge; Shawn Williams could Pack it in
Even head coach Marvin Lewis is admitting these days that going young can be a good thing. Lewis, a friend to veterans everywhere, acknowledged after Friday’s walk-through that this may very well be his youngest team since the 2011 edition stocked by rookies A.J. Green and Andy Dalton shocked the world to win a Wild Card berth at 9-7. Could they be better than that club despite the youth? Lewis sounds like he thinks they have a chance as they prep for Sunday’s game (4:30-Cincinnati’s Channel 19) in Washington.

Different times for Ross
Bengals first-round pick John Ross doesn’t know if he’s going to make his debut in Sunday’s pre-season game in Washington (4:30-p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 19), but he what he does know is the hype is over and the game is finally, thankfully here. “We live in an age where social media has more impact than it should. I think a lot guys get caught up in that,” Ross said after Thursday’s practice. “I don’t. I know the reality of it. A lot of guys here know the reality of it.”

Fan Focus: Dad Shares Love of Bengals with Kids
We’ve been Bengals fans literally all our lives. My dad and uncle bought two season tickets in 1972 and these tickets have been in our family ever since. Sometime in the late 1980s my uncle gave up his ticket and that’s when my brother and I started going to games. For years we only had two tickets, so my dad would scalp a ticket, give me and my brother the seats and stand behind us during the game, (we were in the last row on the aisle). My brother and I grew up watching and rooting for the teams of the 1990s and we are still die-hard Bengals fans today.

Cincinnati Bengals starting safety Shawn Williams won't need elbow surgery
Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said starting safety Shawn Williams has recovered well following his elbow injury last week and will not need surgery. "Everything's great," Lewis said. "As he said, he's not going to let them keep a good man down. He's in a brace and moving very well. He's way ahead of where the doctors thought he would be."

Bengals eager to see WR John Ross show his speed in preseason debut
Cincinnati Bengals rookie running back Joe Mixon has spent training camp proving what he can do. It's the other touted rookie who still remains a mystery. Bengals players are as eager as everyone else to see teammate John Ross get some real playing time. Ross, the ninth overall pick in the draft, has yet to take a preseason snap while recovering from shoulder surgery.

Lewis: Bengals searching for new leaders
The Bengals, fresh off missing the playoffs for the first time since 2010, are looking for new leaders on the field. “They have to understand: You have to take control, you have to take over,” coach Marvin Lewis said to “Again, that group of guys, a year ago it’s 14 [vets], now it’s 20-something, that are at that point of their career. These guys have grown up. Now, they’re the leaders of the group, that group of players who’d never not gone to the playoffs. And that’s the thing, there are only five guys in this building who were there before then. That’s the great part of it. The rest of the group came in ’11 and ’12.”

Chris Smith makes final rush for Bengals roster
One year ago this week, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther was walking in from practice along with former Bengals Pro Bowl left tackle Andrew Whitworth. Guenther had seen a defensive end for Jacksonville on tape as he prepared for the preseason game against the Jaguars. Whitworth was well aware. “He said, ‘Yeah, he’s got a spin move, he’s got an up and under, he’s got speed to power,' ” Guenther recalled of the conversation. “He’s Chris Smith.”’

Cincinnati Bengals debut new food lineup at Paul Brown Stadium
On Friday the Cincinnati Bengals showed off the lineup of new dishes debuting at Paul Brown Stadium this season. Aramark food service chefs described their creations, which included loaded tots, a Bavarian burger, Who Dey melts grilled cheeses, deluxe hot dogs and a pork tenderloin waffle sandwich.

AFC North Bytes

Mike Preston: Joe Flacco won't be game ready for Bengals
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco will be prepared, but not game ready for the opener. Besides money, the other reason a team plays in the preseason is to duplicate real game conditions, which it can’t do in practice. Teams can bring in crowd noise and use play clocks, but the pace of the game, intensity and emotion is so much different on Sundays or when it’s a win-loss situation.

Steelers' best pass rusher in 2017 could be a surprise
The Steelers have plowed so many first-round draft choices into their group of linebackers that they let two of them flee and still have three remaining. They made history of sorts when Lawrence Timmons (first round, 2007) and Jarvis Jones (2013) signed elsewhere in March. It is the only time two of their first-round draft picks left as unrestricted free agents in the same year.

What would qualify as a successful start for DeShone Kizer? -- Bud Shaw's You Said It
Cleveland sports fans have questions about the Browns, Cavaliers and Indians. We have answers (sort of). You Said It was created on the premise that the only thing Cleveland sports fans needed more than a championship was a sense of humor. Now that this city is winning pennants and championships left and right you might think You Said It has run its course. Then Trevor Bauer is attacked by his own drone on the eve of the American League Championship Series. And the Browns go through five quarterbacks in a span of eight games. And you recognize that being a Cleveland sports fan means you’ll at least occasionally have to laugh to keep from crying. So, our new vow is to keep You Said It alive until the Browns win a Super Bowl. You’re welcome?

Random Bytes

Most, least accurate, luckiest, aggressive, conservative, valuable quarterbacks in NFL 2016 - 2017
We wanted a way to isolate a quarterback's value when he threw or ran the ball relative to what the rest of his team did on every other play. The method for this was to collect data on expected points added (EPA) from ESPN Stats & Information research. Every play has an expected point total based on factors such as down, distance to go, field position, home-field advantage and time remaining. The higher the EPA, the more successful that play was at helping the team score the game's next points.

The Death of a Teenage Quarterback
It isn't supposed to happen here, in Hometown, USA. It isn't supposed to happen anywhere, but children die after playing football more often than you know. And Evan Murray's family wants you to know the story of his final game.

The Unheralded Work of Pro NFL Scouts
Maintaining a football roster isn’t just about evaluating top-flight players or even guys on the bench. It involves keeping tabs on practice-squad guys, scout team fill-ins, opponents’ benches, and even the Arena Football League. An anonymous army of pro scouts puts all the pieces together—here’s how they do it.

Julian Edelman Carted Off After Suffering Knee Injury in Preseason vs. Lions
New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman left Friday's preseason game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field with a non-contact knee injury, according to The MMQB's Albert Breer. He was later carted off the field after undergoing a medical evaluation on the sideline, per's Phil Perry, and didn't return. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the team fears he tore his ACL, and an MRI will determine the diagnosis on Sunday.