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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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Rookie minicamp a wrap

Marvin Lewis closed the three-day, five-practice rookie minicamp Sunday in positive terms.

Coaches now know even more than they did about the team’s 10 draft picks, and new defensive coaches – coordinator Mike Zimmer and linebackers coach Jeff FitzGerald – had time on the field to work with actual players after four-months of scouting and office work.

“When you can get as much football in as we did, it helps the rookies coming back,” Lewis said Sunday afternoon at Paul Brown Stadium.

Most of the rookies, both draft picks and free agents, will be back to participate
May 20 in organized team activities (OTA) that will start May 13 for whole team.

Those activities are voluntary.

Lewis said that veteran running back Chris Perry (ankle, shin) and safety Ethan Kilmer (knee) – both of whom missed all of the 2007 season – “should be ready to go May 13” for on-field work.

Second-year running back Kenny Irons (knee) will not be available, Lewis said.
Asked what he took personally from the three days of work, Lewis said he often was left saying “wow.”

“But,” he added, “that’s why we drafted them.”

Lewis and his coaches had 15-minute interviews at the NFL scouting combine in February in Indianapolis with prospects. Some of the prospects visited Cincinnati. Coaches and scouts visited their campuses for pro day workouts.

“You don’t see if they can handle install,” Lewis said in reference to the process of learning plays and schemes.

“You also get to see them playing at the speed of football in 11-on-11 drills. That matters.”

In addition, Lewis and his coaches could see the functional strength of linemen they selected – such as offensive tackle Anthony Collins and defensive tackles Pat Sims and Jason Shjrley.

First-round draft pick Keith Rivers, the Southern Cal linebacker, worked on the weak-side position, where he had in college, and impressed coaches with his fluid play and work ethic.

Coaches were impressed, too, with Rivers’ natural leadership and ability to call his position players together.

“He showed things that are innate,” Lewis said of Rivers. “Every time he was not in a meeting he was upstairs watching tape on his own.

“He already gets it.”

Forty-six players participated in the minicamp.

In addition to the 10 draft picks, there were eight college free agents. The rest were either rookie or veteran players participating on a try-out basis.

The Bengals signed three of the try-out players from rookie minicamp: defensive tackle Antwon Burton signed a one-year deal; he is a third-year NFL player from Temple.

Rookie linebacker Dan Howell from Washington and rookie wide receiver Clyde Logan of Idaho State each signed two-year contracts with the Bengals following minicamp.

Beyond OTA practices on the field, starting May 13, the Bengals’ next major team event is the mandatory full-squad minicamp scheduled for June 12-14.


at 5/04/2008 10:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

hear anything on Louis Irizarry?

at 5/05/2008 1:38 AM Blogger Dave said...

Thoughts on the upcoming season:

1. It's a passing league - if you can't throw, you lose. I really like JJ and Hall back there, especially with Jackson and the two young bucks mixed in - we might actually stop the pass this year. It also helps that we'll be losing that stupid 7 yards off semi-zone crap we've run the past few years, and maybe we'll try to stop the completions, rather than going for the pick every time.

2. We'll finally be solid at linebacker - Thurman, Jones, Jeanty, possibly Brooks, and a stud-to-be from the top 10 gives us hope.

3. Carson is still Carson - if the Reds had a leader like him, they'd be a pennant-contender.

4. A couple of good picks in the draft leave our WR futures looking okay in spite of Chad and Chris being a pair of world-class jack@$$es.

5. Marvin is still Marvin - if we recommit to the run, we'll be alright.

6. Young guys age - I think Peko, Thurman, Perry (1,000 yards, replaces Rudi mid-year), Andrews, Hall, Joseph, White, and Ndukwe (draft steal, anyone?) are ready to step it up a notch and turn this into a well-rounded, deep ballclub.

7. Chris Perry stays healthy - yeah, I said it above, he'll be starting the last month of the season. He was durable at Michigan, and he's had bad luck in the pros. His burst and between the tackles toughness will be the Faulk-like spark this offense has been missing.

at 5/05/2008 8:22 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Rookie linebacker Dan Howell from Washington and rookie wide receiver Clyde Logan of Idaho State each signed two-year contracts with the Bengals following minicamp." Does this mean Hoke, Glatthaar and Moore were not signed or were they not try-out guys?

at 5/05/2008 8:49 AM Blogger who dey head hunter, the original said...

Dave- I think you may be jumping the gun a bit on Odell. It amazes me how all the who dey heads on here in benGALdumb keeping putting Thurman in the starting lineup. A guy who has been out of football, not played or practiced a down in more than a year makes the starting defensive squad? How bad is this D? Plus, Jeanty is unproven. He has yet to put together any kind of string of success and Brooks may be suspended by the time the season starts. And what is this obsession with Peko you guys have? I have yet to see anything from him that tells me he is any good at all. Anyone on that D-line last year is suspect as far that goes. And finally, Chrissy Perry? Are you serious? Guy has played barely a down in the NFL and you guys have him gaining 1000 yards every August. Actually by August the Who Dey heads will be predicitng he will rush for 2000 yds, Odell will have 35 sacks, and the Gals will go 16-0. Another example of unrealistic, no football knowledge having who dey heads taking up space. You know these guys, the ones that pick the BenGals to go 12-4 because they picked up some run-down has been off the waiver wires. Let's see if Odell can stay out of trouble first, and before we go crowning these new draftees as the second coming of Carson Palmer, let's keep in mind that there is still 5 months until the first game, plenty of time to Bungalize the new guys.

at 5/05/2008 9:17 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark - Thanks for the clarification on the UC guys.

at 5/05/2008 11:44 AM Blogger CanMickCoach? said...

Mark -

what was your take on the new players. of course marvin thinks they are all potential starters.....

we are counting on the WR's drafted to help out - which one looked ready to go? Caldwell?

hard to tell in this camp if the DT's are monsters - but is the big guy Shirey (sp) really that monstrous to make the investment in him?

thanks -

at 5/05/2008 1:43 PM Blogger Cincy fans hate to much said...

Hey, who dey head hunter,

Who died and made you the end all font of knowledge concerning the Bengals?

Just because some people don't want to hate 24/7 doesn't mean they lack knowledge. I think someone thinks a little to highly of themselves...and it ain't me...

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