Cincinnati Bengals: Cobi Hamilton

Good Monday morning, everyone.

I suppose this is a bit of a welcome back for yours truly. Even though we had a few items here on the Bengals blog the last couple of days, I was officially away since Thursday, taking a few days off before things start getting busier with players reporting back to Cincinnati next week.

Now that we're rested and recharged, we've got a new daily blog post that I'm going to be trotting out this week called "Bengal Quick Takes." A nod to colleague John Keim for inspiring the idea. These blogs are designed to help catch you up on the latest news revolving around the Bengals, and to analyze it in five brief bullet points each morning.

Since the Bengals signed defensive end Sam Montgomery on Friday and we didn't get a chance to address it at the time, we'll use this first "Quick Take" with some thoughts on what his signing means:

1. Adding Montgomery. Before arriving in the NFL three years ago, Montgomery was a key piece in LSU's intimidating defense as a defensive end and outside linebacker. He had relatively high upside and was drafted by Houston in the third round. Criticism followed, though, after he admitted to taking plays off and giving less effort in certain games than he did for others. Fast-forwarding to last October, Montgomery was one of three players released by Houston after they were allegedly caught smoking marijuana in a hotel before a road game. The players initially denounced the releases and talked about filing grievances. While those off-field events and admissions are prominent parts of Montgomery's background, the Bengals believe he has the potential to rise above it all and contribute on the field. They are positive that he can give them an additional defender with stand-up linebacker ability, and a defensive end foundation.

2. What Montgomery brings. Specifically, Montgomery brings a measure of versatility to the defensive end position that can help dictate what the Bengals decide to do from a personnel standpoint while in various front-line packages. New defensive coordinator Paul Guenther has indicated a desire for having multiple fronts and revolving fronts that might include linebackers dropping down to the line and rushing the quarterback. Guenther's plans for the defense will be based on situations. While the Bengals will have a base scheme, they will be moving bodies around so often that the lineups should change regularly, keeping players fresher and mixing the looks to offensive lines constantly. Montgomery's ability to drop down and stand up should help those plans.

3. More on a versatile defensive front. Montgomery isn't the only player the Bengals have signed this offseason with that type of positional versatility. They also added off waivers Dontay Moch, a former Bengals draft selection who has played both defensive end and outside linebacker. He's listed as a linebacker on Cincinnati's current roster (so is Montgomery). Both players were added in the wake of the departures of defensive end Michael Johnson (signed with Tampa Bay) and linebacker James Harrison (cut) earlier this offseason. With the possibility the Bengals might add an outside linebacker through the draft, it wouldn't be surprising to see Montgomery and Moch competing for a roster spot in training camp.

4. Quickly, on receiver. We'll get more on this later this week, but as's Geoff Hobson acutely pointed out over the weekend, Cobi Hamilton may have the most to prove among Cincinnati's receivers when training camp opens later this year. On paper, he's the last man in the rotation and doesn't have as much special-teams value as Brandon Tate or the game experience of Dane Sanzenbacher, who was re-signed as a restricted free agent last week.

5. Finally, on Andy Dalton. There will be more to come on this, too, but it sounds as if Dalton was encouraged by his weeklong session in California with throwing coach Tom House. A few tweaks were made to his throwing motion that ought to help him get more zip on certain shorter passes and possibly be more accurate on longer throws. Closed, squared up shoulders and hips ought to help tighten his delivery. That's the Bengals' hope, at least. We'll see this fall how much the tweaks pay off.
The Cincinnati Bengals announced their practice squad, and half will be made up of their own draft picks.

The last three picks from this year's draft -- wide receiver Cobi Hamilton (sixth round), offensive tackle Reid Fragel (seventh) and center T.J. Johnson (seventh) -- were added along with running back Dan Herron, a sixth-round pick from a year ago.

The Bengals signed three others: linebacker J.K. Schaffer, who led the team in tackles this preseason; cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris; and cornerback-returner Onterio McCalebb.

Cincinnati has one spot remaining on its roster spot and could try to bring back defensive end Dontay Moch if he isn't picked up by another team.

Observation deck: Bengals-Cowboys

August, 24, 2013

In the Cincinnati Bengals' sloppy 24-18 preseason loss at Dallas, the mistakes made by cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick stand out the most. Here's the nightmarish performance by Kirkpatrick: one touchdown allowed in coverage, two pass-interference penalties and three missed tackles.

A first-round pick from a year ago, Kirkpatrick had a strong start to training camp. But he was physically overmatched at times versus Dallas.

In the second quarter, he was in position to make a play in the end zone, but he lost the fight for the ball against wide receiver Dez Bryant, who scored a 5-yard touchdown. Kirkpatrick was also flagged twice for pass interference, both of which converted third downs and totaled 28 penalty yards. Then, in the third quarter, he had the first of three missed tackles by the Bengals on running back DeMarco Murray, who caught a short pass in the flat and ran into the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown.

The Bengals are starting Leon Hall and Terence Newman at cornerback for a second consecutive season. With Adam Jones injured, the Bengals are looking at Kirkpatrick to step up in nickel defense. The Bengals can't have a lot of confidence in Kirkpatrick after this rocky effort, but it should make for an interesting episode of "Hard Knocks."

Here are some other thoughts on the Bengals' third preseason game:
  • The Bengals' starting offense wasn't sharp in the first half. Wide receiver Marvin Jones fumbled at the Cowboys' 4-yard line to end the first drive, and quarterback Andy Dalton threw an interception down the middle of the field (where it was Mohamed Sanu and three Dallas defenders) on third-and-15 to end the second drive. Dalton finished 12-of-16 for 113 yards.
  • There are no concerns about A.J. Green's health after watching him play 2½ quarters. He looked smooth in making three catches for 42 yards. Green, who missed the first two preseason games with a knee injury, nearly had a touchdown in the right corner of the end zone, but it was ruled that one foot went out of bounds.
  • I've always thought Adam Jones was the most dangerous returner on the team, but Brandon Tate made his case to keep the job by running a punt back 75 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. The score came after Cowboys punter Chris Jones hit the scoreboard and had to kick again.
  • Right tackle Andre Smith tweaked his left knee and didn't return after playing two drives. He was replaced by Dennis Roland. The Bengals were already playing without left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who hasn't played this preseason after having offseason knee surgery.
  • Rookie sixth-round pick Cobi Hamilton fumbled on an end around, but he vindicated himself later. He converted a fourth down in the red zone on a pass from Josh Johnson and then finished off that drive with a 4-yard touchdown on which he had to stretch the ball into the end zone.
  • Some numbers that aren't going to make defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer happy: The Cowboys were 9-for-16 on third downs, 3-for-4 in the red zone, totaled 358 yards and controlled the clock for 39 minutes, 31 seconds.
  • In the battle for the backup quarterback job, Johnson was 6-of-13 for 35 yards. He was picked off on the Bengals' final drive, which ended any chances of a comeback. John Skelton didn't play.