Bengals wake-up call: Three areas to watch


CINCINNATI -- As the Cincinnati Bengals get going with Day 11 of training camp, here are three items we are going to be watching:

Tracking Dalton. Now that their quarterback has gotten paid, the Bengals will need Andy Dalton to remain every bit the calm, confident and focused signal-caller he has been to this point in camp. Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson has been mesmerized by Dalton's performance so far, and quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese credits the fast routes Cincinnati's receivers have been running as a reason his star pupil has looked so smooth early. A couple of Bengals veterans, most notably offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth, mentioned Monday that the challenge now facing Dalton will be avoiding complacency with the six-year contract extension now complete. Whitworth doesn't think Dalton will fall into that trap. "It will be hard for him to really take the time and enjoy this," Whitworth said. "He's got a lot of work to do and a lot of guys to lead." We'll be watching to see how Dalton continues to conduct himself post-signing.

Rookie watch: James Wright. If you've been following along on this blog and on Twitter (@ColeyHarvey) since June, you know I'm a fan of Wright. The seventh-round receiver was a special-teams standout at LSU. He also played receiver there, but because of the way the Tigers' offense operated, he hasn't caught a pass since 2012. But you could barely tell from watching him at Bengals practices. He's been one of the most consistent rookies in camp and finds himself in a truly intriguing battle for the final receiver spot with Cobi Hamilton. I've been watching Wright all camp, so I'll be paying attention to him again on Tuesday.

Morning practice: The Bengals' string of afternoon and evening practices comes to an end Tuesday as they hit the practice fields for an open late-morning session. Excluding Wednesday's walk-through before they get on the plane to Kansas City, this practice will be the Bengals' last before beginning preseason play. They visit the Chiefs for an 8 p.m. ET Thursday tilt. Tuesday's should be a balance of some game prep and a large share of talent evaluation. Practice begins at 11 a.m. ET.