Wake-up: Bengals' banged-up cornerbacks

July, 27, 2012
7/27/12
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Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:

The Cincinnati Bengals didn't provide any updates on injured first-round pick Dre Kirkpatrick, who reportedly will miss two to four weeks with a leg injury. Head coach Marvin Lewis referred to the injury as “a small thing.”

The other Bengals cornerback who isn't expected to practice is Nate Clements, who continues to deal with an abdominal strain. “It’s not going as slow as I thought," he told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "With these type of injuries you have to take your time. It can keep lingering on and that is not one of those things we want to rush.”

Hensley's slant: When the Bengals take the field for their first training camp practice today, the big storyline is if cornerback Leon Hall will participate. The Bengals have been hopeful that Hall, who hasn't practiced all offseason because of an Achilles injury, would suit up this week. Hall's goal has been to be ready for camp.

BROWNS: Head coach Pat Shurmur told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that there is no hurry to get rid of any of the team's quarterbacks and said it's realistic that both backups, Colt McCoy and Senenca Wallace, could remain on the roster. "I guess the conversation becomes how [Colt's] going to handle it if he's not the starter," Shurmur said. "Colt's a professional and he's actually done everything that I've asked him to do. He's handled his work well, and in my opinion, he's handled his comments with the media well." Hensley's slant: I would be surprised if the Browns kept both McCoy and Wallace. While I would make McCoy the backup, my prediction is the Browns will go with Wallace. His history with team president Mike Holmgren is a factor.

RAVENS: It was a solid first practice for linebacker Courtney Upshaw, the team's top pick in the 2012 draft. Upshaw is replacing Jarret Johnson, who went to the San Diego Chargers in free agency. “I think there were [a few] mistakes out there for everybody at some point, but he didn’t really make any glaring rookie mistakes because he was always on his P’s and Q’s,” inside linebacker Jameel McClain told the Baltimore Sun. “He knew where he had to go, and he got there and he got his job done.” Hensley's slant: His first practice was more successful than his first day, when he failed the conditioning test on the first try. The first impression is Upshaw looks more like a brick wall than a fleet-footed defender. One of the reasons why he slid to the Ravens in the second round was questions about his agility and speed.

STEELERS: Speaking for the first time since he was severely burned in a house fire six months ago, running backs coach Kirby Wilson is thankful to be out on the field, saying "it's my most rewarding camp ever." During practices this spring, Wilson spent most of his time instructing players from a golf cart. He is now to the point where he is jogging again. "No doubt ever came in my mind that I would not be here," Wilson told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "It was just what condition would I be in when I got here? I'm pretty much 100 percent right now. I got a little bit more, but I'm happy where I'm at." Hensley's slant: This has been a remarkable recovery by Wilson, who sustained burns on 45 percent of his body and also suffered from smoke inhalation. And Wilson's expertise will be needed in this camp. The Steelers are looking to replace their leading rusher for three seasons (Rashard Mendenhall is on the Physically Unable to Perform list) and need to figure out who will be their top backup running back.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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