Mark Curnutte offers the latest on the Cincinnati Bengals

Mark Curnutte started covering the Bengals and the NFL for The Enquirer in 2000. He previously wrote about urban affairs and other social issues for the Enquirer. He won the prestigious 1994 Unity Award from Lincoln University (Missouri) for "A Polite Silence," a seven-day series about race relations in Greater Cincinnati. He also has worked as an assistant features editor and features writer at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. Curnutte is second vice president and a three-year board member of the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA). He is a 1984 Miami University graduate.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Post-OTA notes

Some observations from practice, which went from 11 a.m.-12:20 p.m.:

-- Head coach Marvin Lewis said the team is installing a new defense.

-- Linebacker Ahmad Brooks said he has been moved to strong-side linebacker, a shift that suggests the Bengals are counting on Odell Thurman to regain his spot at middle linebacker Thurman missed the first OTA practice today because he was in his native Georgia, where his grandmother's funeral was held Monday.

Brooks said he was limited to five repetitions in practice because he still is struggling with the aftereffects of surgery to repair a groin injury last season.

-- Several offensive linemen worked out with position coach Paul Alexander on the sideline. Other than centers Dan Santucci, Eric Ghiaciuc and Kyle Cook, who took turns snapping the ball during the seven-on-seven drills, the linemen did not participate. Working out with Alexander, in addition to the centers, were guard Bobbie Williams, guard-tackle Andrew Whitworth, tackle-guard Scott Kooistra, Nate Livings, tackle Dane Uperesa and tackle-guard Stacy Andrews. Tackles Levi Jones and Willie Anderson were not here.

-- Tailback Rudi Johnson, 100 percent after missing five games in 2007 because of a hamstring injury, said he is now in the area of 225 pounds, up from the 212 pound he played at last season. Johnson is carrying most of that added weight in his chest and shoulders, where, he said, "You've got to have it."

-- Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, in his first year with the Bengals, spent a great deal of practice time personally coaching cornerback Johnathan Joseph.

-- Tailback Chris Perry, on a football field for the first time since fracturing his ankle in November 2006, looked smooth and quick and showed his great hands in passing drills with a couple of one-handed catches. Perry said afterward that he has been humbled, is more appreciative of his chance to play football and thinks he can help the team again.

-- Safety Ethan Kilmer, a key special teams player coming back from knee surgery in August, said his feet felt heavy while covering wide receivers live for the first time and received extra coaching from Darrin Simmons, special teams coach.

-- Safety Chinedum Ndukwe intercepted Carson Palmer but was chewed out by coaches for running across the field as opposed to staying on the sideline for his return.

-- Wide receiver Bennie Brazell walked into the locker room at about 1 p.m. He had not been re-signed to the 80-man roster. His practice squad contract ran out. There was no word from Bengals PR whether Brazell had re-signed. He was a seventh-round draft pick by the Bengals in 2006 from LSU.


at 5/13/2008 2:41 PM Blogger jemerick said...

"New" defense "sounds" great.

Brooks groin injury is worrying me.

Great to see Perry moving well.

Zimmer/Joseph one on one time is critical.

The Ndukwe tidbit set the tone for the rest of camp.

Brazelle just wanted some food.

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