Friday, June 19, 2009
Bengals minicamp notes
By James Walker
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Bengals wrapped up their second two-a-day practice for their 2009 mandatory minicamp.
Here are some Day 2 observations:
- Fights are increasing as the weather gets more humid. The temperatures were around the high-80s Friday, but it felt even hotter at times, and when things got chippy players wasted no time pushing, shoving and in some cases punching. In a mismatch, defensive tackle Domata Peko was pounding on rookie offensive lineman Colin Dow before that fight was broken up during team drills. And there was also a good battle involving rookie fullback Fui Vakapuna and fellow rookie Michael Johnson. There were also a couple more shoving matches and a lot of jawing.
- Friday was a good day for some in the secondary. Backup safety Chinedum Ndukwe got two interceptions, including a pick-six, in team drills. Starting cornerback Johnathan Joseph also got an interception on 7-on-7 drills. Early impressions are this unit has a chance to live up to their billing as one of the strengths of the Bengals.
- Because quarterback Carson Palmer is on a pitch count, we are getting a lot of opportunities to see Cincinnati's backup quarterbacks in this minicamp, particularly in the evening practices. Backups J.T. O'Sullivan and Jordan Palmer are making good throws here and there but probably not enough to play winning football. It's no secret that Carson Palmer is the most important cog in Cincinnati's 2009 season.
- Speaking of offense, after watching closely for four practices over two days, receiver Andre Caldwell seems to be fitting in the offense better than Jerome Simpson. Caldwell was taken in the third round in 2008, while Simpson was a second-round pick that year. But Caldwell looks more polished and confident in what he's doing in his second year during this minicamp, while Simpson still looks rough around the edges.
- Rookie fifth-round punter Kevin Huber has a nice leg and is kicking the ball well during this minicamp. The former Cincinnati Bearcat and left-footed kicker is showing why the Bengals dumped former punter Kyle Larson so quickly once they landed Huber in April's draft.