AFC North: 2012 NFL Training camp

The latest buzz about Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is he's turning the corner in practice. Coaches are saying he's playing faster.

Gordon just has to start showing this improvement in games. In his first two preseason contests, Gordon didn't run good routes and didn't give great effort on passes that were a little off target.

The Browns hope -- and honestly need -- Gordon to step up. There's a feeling that they want to start him opposite Greg Little, but they can't give him the job after making two catches for 38 yards in two games.

Browns coach Pat Shurmur sounded confident that Gordon will bounce back after this slow start.

"He's making a steady climb through this training camp," Shurmur said. "When he came into camp, he had to kind of run himself into wide receiver shape. That runs parallel with learning the offense and then the details of it. Then the great amount of challenge you get from our defense in practice, and he's really had three game-day environments -- the scrimmage in the stadium and then of course the Detroit and Green Bay games. I think he responded well by improving in each setting."

Gordon's early struggles don't come as a surprise. A second-round pick in the July supplemental draft, Gordon didn't play in a game all last season (he did practice with Utah) and he comes from an offensive system at Baylor where he didn't run a lot of different routes.

His turnaround in practice follows a private chat with rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, who has nearly been picked off twice because Gordon messed up the timing of a comeback route in the first two weeks of the preseason.

"I trust Josh and I'm not going to work the other side of the field just because it's him and the same thing happened the week before," Weeden said. "I can't do that. To sum it all up, we have to be on the same page. We can't continue to do it, but he's a rookie, he's learning just like I am. He's trying to play fast."
Six days removed from arthroscopic knee surgery, Steelers linebacker James Harrison still plans to be ready for the season opener Sept. 9 in Denver.

Harrison
Harrison could have avoided cutting this so close to the season if he chose to have this surgery in the spring, when he missed practices with an inflamed knee. On the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, Harrison tried doing conditioning work shortly after training camp began but said “the knee blew up."

Harrison believes he'll make a quick recovery, and it's hard to doubt him. He's proven to be a quick healer, although it will be more of a challenge at 34 years old. Before missing four games last season, he had been sidelined one week in his previous four seasons.

“I might need a little prep, we got a couple of new things (on defense), but other than that I think I’ll be all right,” Harrison told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “You’ve got to get back in timing with the other guys and everything else, and a few days of practice would help.”

With Harrison and backup Jason Worilds out, Chris Carter has played well while starting at outside linebacker this preseason.
Ravens cornerback Cary Williams turned down a three-year contract extension from the team worth roughly $15 million, according to the Baltimore Sun.

He's essentially betting that he's going to have a strong season, increasing his worth heading into free agency next offseason. It's admirable to see a player, especially a cornerback, have such confidence. But, in this case, Williams is making the wrong gamble.

There's three reasons why he should take the money:
  • Williams is going to be the targeted cornerback. With Lardarius Webb (eight interceptions last season) on one side, quarterbacks are going to go after Williams. If you don't believe me, just put on the tape of the preseason opener, when Matt Ryan threw in Williams' direction on nearly every pass. On Friday, Williams gave up a 57-yard catch to Calvin Johnson.
  • The loss of Terrell Suggs hurts the Ravens' pass rush. What does that mean for Williams? Quarterbacks are going to have more time in the pocket to throw downfield without the threat of Suggs breathing down their necks. That's going to make the job of Williams and every other Ravens cornerback that much tougher.
  • Plus, there's no guarantee that Williams will stay the starter this season. The Ravens have a history of giving the starting jobs to their first-round picks, which is why many predicted Jimmy Smith would overtake Williams. If that happens, Williams would be the Ravens' nickel back.

It's hard to bet against Williams, because he's beaten the odds so many times before. Williams, 27, has gone from a 2008 seventh-round pick of the Titans to a starter for the Ravens last season. Williams recorded a career-high 77 tackles and 18 pass deflections with two forced fumbles, which led to a second-round tender as a restricted free agent ($1.927 million).

The Ravens' offer -- which averages about $5 million per season -- is in the same range as the salaries for San Diego Charger Quentin Jammer ($5.49 million), Cleveland Brown Dimitri Patterson ($5.3 million) and Miami Dolphin Richard Marshall ($5.3 million).

"My philosophy on doing that was just having confidence in myself," Williams told The Sun. "I know myself, I know my ability. I know my work ethic. At the end of the day, the offer, I felt like I could always make that. I felt it wasn't good enough, and my agent said it wasn't good enough."

Williams added, "For me to say the money ain't good, that wasn't the case. It's good money, but my job is to make the most money I possibly can for my family. I'm thinking about my daughter and any future children I want to have. I want some kind of security, and the deal we had wasn't like that."

Williams will find out next offseason whether it was the right gamble.
LATROBE, Pa. -- When James Harrison missed four games last season with an eye injury, the Steelers filled in his starting spot by shifting Lawrence Timmons from inside to outside linebacker, a move that didn't work out for the Steelers or Timmons.

After Harrison underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Wednesday, the Steelers are choosing a different approach to replace him. This time, Pittsburgh is going with Chris Carter, a fifth-round pick from a year ago, to take over for the 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

This not only shows increased confidence in Carter. It also indicates that Carter is more prepared for such a step up.

“You have to understand, last year before our first preseason game, I only had my playbook for two weeks," Carter said. “I had never seen the playbook before then. I had not met anybody on the coaching staff until we went to camp. But now I’m more centered. I’m more comfortable. There’s no need to stress. I have great players around me. I just have to do my job the best I can and keep improving.”

Carter has to be prepared for anything over the next three weeks. Harrison has a better chance of being available for the season opener by having surgery now, but there's no guarantee he will play Sept. 9 at Denver. Like Harrison, Jason Worilds, Harrison's backup, is on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list and his status is uncertain. So, Carter's role could range anywhere from a starter to third on the depth chart. Carter, who added about 10 pounds since last season, has put in the work for more responsibility.

"He's represented himself well not only since he's been here, but he had a very productive offseason and minicamp," coach Mike Tomlin said. "He's a guy that has to take that step in the manner that we challenge all our second-year players. So far he's accepted that challenge."
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Here are some observations from Ravens training camp Monday:
  • The Ravens gave offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie some reps with the first team for the first time this camp. He's under 360 pounds, and the team still wants him to lose 10 more pounds.

  • Billy Cundiff missed two field goals, from 24 and 34 yards. Head coach John Harbaugh explained that the miss from 24 yards was the result of a high snap.
  • Wide receiver Torrey Smith continued to practice hard despite favoring his sprained ankle, which he injured in the preseason opener. Harbaugh had to pull a determined Smith from practice, saying, "He'll go until his heart explodes."
  • The Ravens have moved nose Terrence Cody to second team, but it's only a temporary demotion. He has a hip problem that has slowed him recently. The coaches were pleasantly surprised with Cody reporting to camp with less than 22 percent body fat.
  • Left guard Bobbie Williams has been given two days off to rest his ankle, which has swollen up on him. The Ravens put second-round pick Kelechi Osemele at left guard. Osemele, who has been working at right tackle, has impressed the coaching staff as well as his teammates.
  • Before that Boldin catch, the Ravens' offense struggled in the team drills. During a four-play stretch, Boldin, tight end Matt Balasavage and running back Ray Rice all dropped passes. The only play that didn't result in a drop ended with Flacco getting sacked.
  • Some coaches make their players run gassers. Harbaugh has a new tradition at camp, one where he's the one running wind sprints after practice. On Monday, he ran sideline to sideline with some kids. "I told them that they had to work for their autographs," Harbaugh said with a smile.
The bad news continues for the Cincinnati Bengals. A day after learning left guard Travelle Wharton is lost for the season, the Bengals found out that they could be without defensive end Carlos Dunlap for the season opener at the Ravens on "Monday Night Football."

Dunlap is expected to be sidelined four weeks with a sprained right knee, coach Marvin Lewis told reporters. He injured the knee in the first quarter of Friday's preseason opener against the Jets. Under this timetable, Dunlap is in jeopardy of missing the Sept. 9 opener in Baltimore.

“It’s just a matter of how Carlos’ body comes around," Lewis said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. "He’s been two days of the new, diligent Carlos Dunlap. He’s aiming to be ready, to prove that he’s ready to go. He’s in a race.”

Dunlap is the Bengals' best edge rusher and he was focused on being an every-down player this year. Injuries have always limited his impact, and that appears to be the case for time being.

The Bengals moved Dunlap into the starting spot at left end because five-year starter Robert Geathers was out with a knee injury. That means Jamaal Anderson, a 2007 first-round draft pick by the Falcons, will start Thursday's preseason game at Atlanta.

Dunlap was having an impressive training camp and was recently ranked No. 14 on the AFC North's list of top 25 players for this season.

“I mean you can do all you want to prepare and prevent injuries but you can’t prevent all of them," Dunlap said. "I feel like I am fully prepared for the ones I can’t control but it is still the game of football. There’s things that happen and now I have to do what I have to do to get back out there."
CINCINNATI -- The Bengals' focus this year isn't battling history. They're quite aware of the franchise's failure to put together back-to-back winning seasons since 1981-82, even though only five players on the current roster were alive at that time.

Coming off a surprising 9-7 season and a trip to the playoffs, Cincinnati has its sights set straight ahead. Way ahead. The players walk around the locker room with shirts that read "DNO." It means Destination: New Orleans, the site of this season's Super Bowl.

"Our guys know that there is more beyond just qualifying for the playoffs," coach Marvin Lewis said. "We all experienced the Houston game and knew what the flight back felt like."

Seven months after that playoff loss in Houston, the Bengals have put together one of the best teams in Lewis' 10 years in Cincinnati. Quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green are entering their second seasons as the foundation of the offense. The defense, which ranked No. 1 at one point last season before finishing seventh overall, returns all but two starters.

On paper, this team should produce another winning season, contend for the division title and return to the playoffs. But can this franchise deliver consistency for the first time in three decades?

"I can say all I want to right now. But, to be quite honest, until that first snap on Monday night, we’ll never know," said cornerback Leon Hall, who was on the 2010 team that finished 4-12 after winning the division the previous season. "I’m confident in the team that we have that we can have back-to-back winning seasons and get to the playoffs. But there are a lot of teams that look like an All-Star team, and they don’t do very well. Nobody is walking around like they own everything around here. I think we’re still a humble team, and we work pretty hard."

THREE HOT ISSUES

Armon Binns
AP Photo/Al BehrmanArmon Binns may not be the most physically gifted receiver on the Bengals' roster, but he could be a starter on opening day.
1. Who's the No. 2 wide receiver? Dalton doesn't think there will be one receiver who will start opposite Green. He envisions a receiver-by-committee setup with Brandon Tate, Armon Binns and Mohamed Sanu. Tate had an impressive offseason, which is why he's listed atop the depth chart. Binns, a practice squad player from a year ago, has the size at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds. Sanu, a rookie third-round pick, has the most intriguing upside.

"Right now, the way they’ve performed, I have no reservation whatsoever of anybody coming in there," offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said. "My play calling won’t alter one bit if Sanu, Armon or Tate is out there."

Although Tate has become the early favorite and Sanu is probably the future at this spot, don't be surprised if Binns is the starter for the season opener at Baltimore. Binns lacks the flash of Jerome Simpson, last year's No. 2 target, but he's a much more reliable route-runner. Regardless, tight end Jermaine Gresham will be the No. 2 target behind Green.

2. Uncertainty in the secondary. A run of injuries and the unexpected release of strong safety Chris Crocker has made the secondary the biggest question mark on a defense that finished ninth in points allowed last season. Only cornerback Leon Hall and free safety Reggie Nelson are guaranteed spots. The other starter at cornerback has been determined by who's healthy. Nate Clements (abdominal strain), Dre Kirkpatrick (leg), Adam Jones (hamstring), Jason Allen (undisclosed), Brandon Ghee (wrist) and Shaun Prater (knee) all have missed time in training camp.

The Bengals are trying both Taylor Mays and Jeromy Miles at strong safety, but neither has distinguished himself in the offseason or training camp. Perhaps that's the reason Cincinnati has given Clements, a 12-year cornerback, some reps at safety. Moving Clements would allow the Bengals to get their top four defensive backs on the field. The Bengals believe Terence Newman, who was pushed out of Dallas after nine seasons, still has some productive years left at cornerback. Newman has ties with defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, who was Newman's coordinator in his first four seasons with the Cowboys.

3. Will Dalton suffer a sophomore slump? Dalton and Cam Newton became the first rookie quarterbacks to reach the Pro Bowl since Vince Young in 2006. Young followed up that season with 17 interceptions the next year, causing some to wonder whether Dalton will stumble in his second season as well.

"You definitely hear it. If you turn on the TV, everybody is talking about me and Cam and is there going to be a sophomore slump," Dalton said. "I don’t see that happening. For me, I feel like it’s the second year and you’ve got that year of experience. You know what’s going on. You should be even better going into Year 2. That’s how I’m treating it."

It hasn't been the smoothest offseason for Dalton. He spent most of the spring defending his arm strength and then struggled for the first couple of days in training camp. Dalton has turned it around in camp, where he has been connecting on some deep shots downfield to prove his point. "I wouldn’t be a starting quarterback if my arm strength was such an issue," he said.

REASON FOR OPTIMISM

The Bengals are a much better team than the one that shockingly made the playoffs last season. Few teams had a better draft and free-agency period than Cincinnati. Although the Bengals didn't make a big-money splash, they upgraded several key positions.

The biggest improvement should come in the running game, which ranked 27th last season in yards per carry. Instead of re-signing Cedric Benson, Cincinnati added former Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who provides more dependability (no fumbles in his four-year NFL career) and a much-needed punch in the red zone. (His 24 rushing touchdowns over the past two seasons led New England.) The Bengals addressed the guard position, which was their weakest spot, by drafting Kevin Zeitler in the first round and signing Panthers free agent Travelle Wharton.

Cincinnati brought in defensive depth by adding four former first-round picks in free agency: Adam Jones, Terence Newman, Jason Allen and Jamaal Anderson. "We took opportunity to get good veteran players who fit what we do and fit to our guys," Lewis said. This doesn't even take into account that Dalton and Green enjoyed their first full offseason with the team this year and that defensive end Carlos Dunlap is primed for a breakout season.

REASON FOR PESSIMISM

The Bengals went 0-7 against playoff teams last season, which prompted skepticism in their turnaround. Cincinnati has to beat the Ravens and Steelers to win the division, and that's been a major obstacle the past two seasons. The Bengals have lost seven straight to Baltimore and Pittsburgh, scoring a meager 14.1 points per game during that skid.

"Last year, we were in every game we played against them except for that one game against Pittsburgh [a 35-7 loss in December]," Dalton said. "For me, I know I turned the ball over a couple of times that hurt us, but we were close. This is one of the toughest divisions in football. We have to play our best each week."

In four games against Pittsburgh and Baltimore, Dalton had an 0-4 record with four touchdowns and five interceptions. Against the rest of the NFL, he was 9-3 with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

OBSERVATION DECK

    Carlos Dunlap
    AP Photo/Al BehrmanAfter an impressive training camp, Carlos Dunlap could be an every-down player this season.
  • I've visited (Baltimore, Cleveland and Cincinnati), and Dunlap has been the most dominant defensive player in practice. He spent as much time in the backfield as Cincinnati's running backs. As long as he continues to be this explosive, Dunlap will achieve his goal of being an every-down player this year.
  • Hall has looked impressive in coming back from a season-ending Achilles injury. He is not hesitant making sudden cuts on the field, which was apparent when he covered the slot receiver. Trusting the Achilles is usually a big mental hurdle to overcome.
  • When Green-Ellis gets the ball, he rarely cuts to the outside. He thrives on being a tough, inside-the-tackles runner. But the most impressive part of his game has been his pass protection.
  • Defensive tackle Geno Atkins, aka Geno Sacks in the locker room, was limited this week in camp after limping off the field Tuesday. It's not considered serious, but he's the one player in the front seven that Cincinnati can't afford to lose. Atkins, whose 7.5 sacks were tied for the best among all NFL interior linemen, is special in his ability to collapse the pocket.
  • The Bengals believe that Rey Maualuga struggled in his first season as an NFL middle linebacker because he wanted to be too much like Dhani Jones. "In Dhani’s case, he was so smart. He knew every single person’s job," Maualuga said. "[Zimmer] told me that he didn’t want me to be Dhani or Ray Lewis. I tend to worry about other people’s responsibilities instead of worry about myself."
  • The Bengals' offensive linemen certainly make an impression when they break the huddle. Every starter is at least 6-foot-3 and 315 pounds.
  • Backup running back Bernard Scott was expected to be involved in a running back-by-committee situation this season, but he's been sidelined by a hand injury. That will allow special-teamer Cedric Peerman to get a lot of carries in the first couple of preseason games.
  • Andrew Hawkins, who is the top slot receiver on the team, isn't comfortable being a returner. "I’m a work in progress. I’m new to it," he said. "The more reps you get, the better you get at everything." The safer option seems to be Tate, last year's returner, especially if he comes up short in the battle to be the team's No. 2 wide receiver.
  • Jordan Shipley, who is behind Hawkins as the slot receiver, doesn't appear to have enough burst to get separation from defenders in man coverage. Coming off season-ending knee surgery, Shipley is best at finding soft spots in zone defenses. He needs a strong preseason to get off the bubble.
  • The Bengals' coaching staff is extremely high on undrafted rookie linebacker Vontaze Burfict, the one-time first-round prospect. Playing at a much lighter weight than he did at Arizona State, Burfict is always around the ball in camp.

Dr. Michael Kaplan says Trent Richardson's knee surgery, which is considered minor, could have potential long-term effects. In the video, he also explains that the soreness in the knee might not go away for another three to four weeks, which is close to the start of the regular season.
CINCINNATI -- Here are some notes from Wednesday's practice, which was attended by 810 fans in 97-degree heat:
  • Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins didn't practice. He suited up, but the Bengals used rookie Devon Still and Nick Hayden in his spot. Atkins, who limped off the field in Tuesday's practice, said he expected to play in Friday's preseason opener.
  • Rookie third-round pick Mohamed Sanu, who is battling for the No. 2 wide receiver spot, had an added role. He played Tim Tebow on the scout-team offense. The Bengals open the preseason against the New York Jets on Friday.
  • Andy Dalton looked sharp in a two-minute drill, completing 4 of 5 passes, which included a 30-yard toss to Armon Binns. The only incompletion was a drop by Binns on a pass that sailed behind him.
  • Brandon Tate, who worked with the second-team offense Wednesday, didn't look good in dropping a long pass from Bruce Gradkowski. Tate then got yelled at by coaches after failing to field a punt and letting it bounce in-bounds.
  • Bengals kicker Mike Nugent went 4-for-5 at the end of practice. His only miss was wide left from 44 yards.

This wraps up my tour stop in Cincinnati. The Bengals' Camp Confidential blog will be posted Friday. Have a good evening.
CINCINNATI -- The Bengals' competition at strong safety was expected to be a battle between Taylor Mays and Jeromy Miles. But there was another player seeing time at that spot during Wednesday's practice -- veteran cornerback Nate Clements.

It's unknown whether this is an experiment or if the Bengals are thinking of starting Clements at safety. The Bengals definitely want to see what Clements looks like at that spot because he split his snaps on the first-team defense at cornerback and safety.

This could be a way of extending the career of the 32-year-old Clements, who is a strong tackler. It would allow the Bengals a chance of getting their five best defensive backs on the field. The Bengals have been looking for a strong safety since releasing Chris Crocker in early April.

Clements, who has played 12 seasons at cornerback, said it's not up to him that he's in the mix to be a starting safety. Asked if he was comfortable at safety, Clements said after practice, "As long as I'm on the field, I'm comfortable."

When Clements moved back to safety, the Bengals used Adam Jones and Terence Newman at corner, while Leon Hall covered the slot. While Clements said it's different to play safety, it's not a major adjustment for him.

"Whatever coach wants me to do and asks me to do, I have to make sure as a player that I know my responsibilities and know all the positions," he said. "As a cornerback, I learned early on to study all the positions in the defensive secondary so I would know where my help is and when I'm able to take that calculated risk. The difference is now I'm playing the positions."

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has done this move before. When he was the defensive coordinator for the Ravens, he switched Rod Woodson from cornerback to safety. Woodson went on to go to four Pro Bowls at safety.

Clements is in the final year of a two-year, $10.5 million contract.
Trent Richardson's sore knee could keep the Browns running back out of Friday's preseason opener. This has unfortunately become the status quo for the top rookies in the AFC North this summer.

Of the top picks for each team in the division, there's a good chance that only one will make his preseason debut this week. That would be Steelers guard David DeCastro, and he's only starting Thursday because of an injury to Willie Colon. The good news for DeCastro is that he's only experiencing growing pains. Others haven't been so lucky.

Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, the Bengals' top pick in the 2012 draft, is on the non-football injury list after hurting his leg before camp began. He's expected to miss the preseason, but coach Marvin Lewis said the No. 17 pick could return for the regular-season opener next month.

Outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw, the Ravens' top pick, was sidelined for seven straight practices with a shoulder injury before practicing Tuesday on a limited basis. Head coach John Harbaugh said it's unlikely that Upshaw will play Thursday at Atlanta, but he has yet to make a final decision on the second-round choice.

While these picks are going through a rough start, this year's rookie class could make an immediate impact. It's possible that 11 rookies will start the regular-season opener. The Browns could go with six rookies: Richardson, quarterback Brandon Weeden, offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz, wide receiver Josh Gordon, defensive tackle John Hughes and linebacker James-Michael Johnson. There could be two rookie starters for the Steelers (DeCastro and offensive tackle Mike Adams) and the Bengals (guard Kevin Zeitler and wide receiver Mohamed Sanu). Upshaw is expected to be the only first-year starter for the Ravens.
The Steelers sent holdout wide receiver Mike Wallace another message: Play for Pittsburgh this year or don't play at all.

Wallace
Wallace
A team source told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the Steelers have no intention of trading their Pro Bowl wide receiver at any point this season. In other words, Pittsburgh is telling Wallace that his only chance of getting a long-term deal this year is from the Steelers.

The Steelers were more than fair with Wallace when he missed the offseason workouts. The team gave him a playbook and didn't reduce his restricted free-agent tender from $2.72 million to $577,000 in June, when they could have done so under the collective bargaining agreement.

Since Wallace failed to report to training camp, the Steelers are no longer on friendly terms with the Pro Bowl wide receiver. Team officials continued the Steelers' policy of not negotiating with players during a holdout. Pittsburgh then signed wide receiver Antonio Brown to a long-term deal, showing they will spend money on players who report to camp. The Steelers are also resigned to the fact that Wallace wont report before the team leaves camp at St. Vincent College on Aug. 18.

This isn't major news because general manager Kevin Colbert said Wallace wasn't available for a trade. The big decision will come in about five weeks, when Wallace will either show up to play for the opener at Denver or extend his holdout into the regular season. He only has to be on the roster for six weeks to accrue a season and become eligible for unrestricted free agency next year. Of course, the Steelers could take a hard-line stance again and threaten to use the franchise tag on Wallace to keep him from free agency.

Postcard from Bengals camp

August, 7, 2012
8/07/12
7:00
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CINCINNATI -- Here are some quick thoughts from my first day at Bengals' camp, where 640 fans and myself endured the 91-degree heat Tuesday afternoon:
  • The first round of team drills went to the defense. The receivers couldn't get open. On one play, quarterback Andy Dalton just threw the ball in the ground after the pass rush got to him.
  • Dalton went on to throw two impressive passes later in practice. He dropped a 15-yard pass over a defender and right into the hands of A.J. Green on the right sideline. He then hit Mohamed Sanu in stride down the left sideline after the rookie got past safety Robert Sands.
  • The two receivers who stood out Tuesday were rookie Marvin Jones and Andrew Hawkins. Jones got open a couple of times over the middle and then got free deep, but backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski didn't see him.
  • There was a small scare toward the end of practice, when Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins hobbled off the field. He got retaped and stayed to watch the rest of practice.
  • There was a brief scuffle that included backup guard Clint Boling. There's no truth to the rumor that Rex Ryan is coming down to scold the Bengals.
  • Cornerback Leon Hall wore a yellow jersey throughout practice, which signifies him as the defensive leader of the day. The Cincinnati beat reporters call it the "Tour de Zimmer" after defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. It's kind of like a gold star that you wear. I would immediately give that yellow jersey to defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who was unblockable today.

I'm wrapping up my visit with the Bengals on Wednesday. My Camp Confidential piece on the team, which will have more in-depth observations, will run Friday.

Hope everyone enjoyed a very busy day on the AFC North blog.
CINCINNATI -- One of the hot topics of Bengals training camp is who will line up as the team's No. 2 wide receiver.

SportsNation

Who will be the Bengals' No. 2 wide receiver this year?

  •  
    23%
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    42%
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    26%
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    9%

Discuss (Total votes: 3,258)

Quarterback Andy Dalton recently suggested that it could be a receiver by committee. But there's also a chance that one receiver will separate from the pack and be the clear-cut starter opposite A.J. Green.

Here are the candidates:

Armon Binns: The former practice squad player stood out in Sunday's mock game.

Mohamed Sanu: The rookie third-round draft pick has drawn comparisons to T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

Brandon Tate: He is listed as a starter on the depth chart after not making a catch last season.

Go ahead and register your vote. Let me know your reaction to the sale, whether you're in favor of it or against it, by dropping me some mail. Your comments could get published on the blog later in the week.

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