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Highs and lows of training camp


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Bengals highs and lows in camp

By Carlos "Big C" Holmes | Tuesday, August 4, 2009, 11:32 AM

GEORGETOWN, Ky. — The Bengals wrapped up Day 4 of training camp on Monday with their share of highs and lows. The two-a-day practice brought out the good, the bad and the ugly in the team.

Making progress

Second-year wide receiver Jerome Simpson was at it again during the evening practice session. Simpson made a nice one-hand stab in the back of the endzone during receiving drills. He performed well throughout practice but still needs to work on his route-running. Simpson is a little flat coming out of his breaks, making it easy for defenders to jump the route. He has shown very little separation at the breaking point. It’s not uncommon to see defenders jump Simpson’s routes and come away with an easy interception. However, Simpson is making progress in all other areas, especially blocking downfield and catching the ball.

Ground game

Running back Brian Leonard appears to be the frontrunner for the No. 2 spot behind Cedric Benson. Leonard is a bruiser and reminds me a lot of Mike Alstott but slightly quicker. He’s an outstanding short-yardage runner with the ability to gain huge chunks of yardage. Leonard rarely goes down on initial contact and has the speed to bounce the run outside.

Behind Leonard, rookie sixth round pick Bernard Scott is making a strong bid not only to make the roster, but for playing time. He has looked pretty impressive running the ball. Scott broke loose on a long run during 11-on-11 drills darting through the hole like a bullet. He’s a slasher with the ability to make people miss and shows no hesitation when hitting the hole. Scott did a decent job picking up the blitz when called upon.


The Bengals are finding out rather quickly just how effective linebacker Rey Maualuga can be as a pass-rusher. I can tell you this, you’re not going to block him with a running back. Just ask Kenny Watson, who was thumped by Maualuga on a play when rushing the passer. Watson was left sprawled on the field like road kill. He had to shake out the cobwebs before being helped to his feet by teammates.

Maualuga is having a good overall showing in camp and is better in pass-coverage then he’s been given credit. He may be ahead of linebacker Rashad Jeanty in that category who has struggled in coverage.

Big butts in the middle

NFL teams may want to think twice about trying to run up the middle on the Bengals defense. Defensive tackles Domata Peko and Tank Johnson are proving to be a force clogging the middle up like the Hoover Dam. Johnson is nasty in the trenches and Peko is very agile for a big man. I watched Peko track down a 25-yard run to the outside. They play off one another extremely well.

Low points

Wide receiver Chris Henry is suffering from a case of the drops. He has let a number of easy, catchable passes fall to the turf.

Rookie tight end Chase Coffman continues to get overpowered during blocking assignments, but does pack a powerful hand-punch.

The Bengals cornerbacks have struggled in coverage with the exception of Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph. Joseph is having a really good camp early.

Tight end Reggie Kelly ruptured his Achilles tendon and will have surgery on Wednesday. He is expected to be sidelined for at least six months.

Keep checking Big C’s NFL Blitz for updates on the Bengals training camp throughout the week.

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The only surprise there is the Chrish Henry update. From everything they've been saying this has been his best offseason to date. Hope he gets a cure for the dropsies before the season starts.

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Seems that RB depth is going to be better than in past years, and that a decent RB is not going to make the team...Don't know if playing D2 football has anything to do with JSimpson not quite getting it yet in the NFL, but I hope the light turns on because it sounds like he can be another SSmith(Panthers)...I hope that RMaualua wins the starting job the man is the real deal...It looks like we have added more depth, if RJeanty and PSims have to come off the bench that is not a bad thing at all, may not have to worry about having a tired team in the 4th qtr...

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