When Jason Campbell visited the Cincinnati Bengals last month, his former head coach-turned-new-offensive-coordinator made it clear the Bengals wanted him primarily for one reason: to back up starter Andy Dalton and to help mentor him.
Campbell said during a news conference welcoming him to Cincinnati that he embraced that role. Does he still? That's where this Tuesday's Quick Takes begin:
1. Backing up Dalton. We turn to the Cincinnati Enquirer to find out how Campbell still is looking forward to giving advice to his young teammate and helping him understand what principles make Hue Jackson's offensive scheme run the most efficiently. Jackson was promoted to Bengals offensive coordinator from running backs coach in January. He came to Cincinnati in 2012 after one season as Campbell's head coach in Oakland. During a media availability period Monday, Campbell spoke to the Enquirer's Tom Groeschen about Dalton. (Yours truly was part of another pack interrogating defensive end Margus Hunt for a couple of other stories; Campbell was gone once Hunt's interview was done.) Here's a bit of what Campbell said about playing with the team's 26-year-old starter: "You just want to make sure he's as relaxed as possible, that he can just go out there and play the game he wants to play. For us all in the quarterback room, we have to prepare the same way and help each other out."
2. Why Campbell is good for the job. There are numerous reasons as to why Campbell is the right man for the job of backing up and mentoring Dalton. For starters, it ought to be understood that Dalton has never truly had a "mentor" in the quarterbacks room during his career. Carson Palmer was in the process of getting out of town when Dalton arrived as a rookie. After that, Bruce Gradkowski was an older quarterback who was around, but not one with real week-by-week starting experience. Gradkowski also had never played in the playoffs and couldn't have been a good resource for helping Dalton understand how to lead a team when the postseason arrived. As Campbell can attest, the playoffs are different than the regular season. The single-elimination nature of the postseason raises the stakes and increases the pressure. Campbell's free-agency addition was perfect for Dalton and the Bengals because not only has he been to the playoffs, but the veteran knows Jackson's inner workings. A self-proclaimed "fiery" coach, Jackson will get in all his players' faces and may come off on occasion as being the bad guy. After two seasons of playing for him, Campbell believes he has a handle on Jackson's personality, and can be a good intermediary for Dalton, if the need arises. Campbell's also the right guy for this job because in the event Dalton for whatever reason misses time this season -- something that hasn't happened his entire career -- then the Bengals have a longtime starter who can take right over for him. Yes, a longtime starter likely nearing the end of his career, but one with more in-game experience than the rest of the Bengals' quarterbacks room combined.
3. Mocking Ealy early. We're approaching the one-week countdown for the NFL draft -- finally! -- meaning mock draft season is nearing its end. Dayton Daily News Bengals reporter Jay Morrison got into a little mock draft action over the weekend, going a slightly different route at No. 24 than most draft analysts. With the Bengals looking to start addressing their long-term depth at cornerback, many have believed they will take a cornerback with that pick. There are too many top-end corners available early in the draft for the Bengals to wait, most draft analysts say. Personally, I agree. But Morrison's pick, Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy, makes sense, too. Cincinnati's two-deep depth is such that the team isn't really looking for instant impact players at any position. But Ealy's addition would help the Bengals add to their end rotation following Michael Johnson's free-agency departure earlier this year. It's not the first time someone else on the Bengals beat has mocked Ealy. Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson also suggested Ealy on an earlier mock draft.
4. On A.J., Wedige, Sterling. Among the other news items that came from Monday's availability was receiver A.J. Green saying he was glad the Bengals exercised their fifth-year option on him. He admitted that he knew it was coming (like the rest of us). ... Center Scott Wedige also made Bengals news after the team released him. A practice-squad player, there's very little to read into about his release, but it could have been interpreted as a sign the Bengals do indeed want to draft a center this year. They do need another one, and by cutting Wedige, they have a spot on the full roster for another. ... Green and team NFL Players Association rep Andrew Whitworth addressed the situation involving Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his purportedly racist recorded comments. Whitworth said he wouldn't have played Sunday after the audio tapes surfaced over the weekend.
5. NFL Nation TV is back. Again, a Tuesday plug for "NFL Nation TV," an all-NFL Web show yours truly is helping host with ESPN's Raiders reporter Paul Gutierrez. This week our guest is Seahawks reporter Terry Blount. The fun starts at 2 p.m. ET. Make sure to come back to ESPN.com to see it.