Friday take: T.O. carries Chad; Oklahoma Saturday morning; Smith feels heat

Posted Jul 30, 2010

UPDATED: 7-31-10, 12:45 a.m.

GEORGETOWN, Ky. - Terrell  Owens says he feels like a rookie again, so there he was carrying Chad Ochocinco’s helmet, shoulder pads and jersey off the field along with his own after practice viewed by a throng of 3,300 here at Georgetown College.

That’s a big crowd for a Friday 3 p.m. deal on the second day of camp. No question The T.O. and Ocho Hour is having its impact in Bengaldom.

On Wednesday, the Ocho declared Owens the No. 1 receiver even though he is the Bengals all-time leader. Owens shrugged and looked down at No. 85.

“Whatever Chad says, Chad gets,” Owens said. “I’m not worried at this point in time. I’ve got to get this offense down as quick as I can, get in sync with Carson. The most important thing for me at this point is to get on the field and know what I’m doing.”

Owens figures it will take him about a week to ease into specifics like alignments and depth of routes.

“It’s not easy,” he said. “I feel like a rookie all over again.

OKLAHOMA DRILL:  Marvin Lewis’ world famous Oklahoma Drill is Saturday during the 9 a.m. practice, the first time the Bengals are in full pads. If there is one guy that can tell you about it, it is tight end Reggie Kelly. He’s been in all seven of them in the Lewis era and it’s quite a feat he’s going to be in this one because not long after the last one he ruptured his Achilles and missed the entire season.

But not only is he back at age 33, he has yet to miss a practice. He came off the field Thursday afternoon wearing shoulder pads for the first time in 51 weeks and to hear one of the club's best blockers talk about getting in “some snap, crackle, pop. Thunder and lightning,” has to resonate in Bengaldom.

“I told you, that year off has done wonders for my body. I feel great. No setbacks. No pain,” Kelly said. “I’m sure we’re going to taper it down and not overdo it, but it’s good.”

The Oklahoma lines up an offensive blocker against a defender and the defender has to shed him and haul down a running back. Kelly and the tight ends are no doubt going to be lined up against linebackers.

“I have to get my head right for that; we have to get our heads right,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to be physical and pound some heads a little bit. As a team we’re more focused on the execution of our plays making sure we’re solid. The Oklahoma Drill brings excitement to the practice, amp us up a little bit.”

Kelly says it’s important, but it’s just one play and he and his teammates can’t get too excited about it even though it is their first hits since the hard knocks against the Jets.

“It can set the tone but not make or break us,” Kelly said. “It’s an opportunity to get some physicality.”

SMITH UNDER FIRE: Terrell Owens is so big that he’s eclipsed the two issues that usually dominate a training camp. The first-round holdout and a starter who shows up surprisingly on the sidelines.

Before camp, Marvin Lewis said he expected second-year right tackle Andre Smith to be ready for the first practice after missing all of the spring camps with foot surgery. Instead, he showed up and said he’s shooting to play in the last two preseason games.

And on Thursday, Lewis ripped Smith’s work ethic to Peter King of, as well as what he thinks is the Alabama coaching staff leading the Bengals astray in the days leading up to the draft, where they picked him sixth. Although Lewis is upset Smith didn’t properly rehab the foot, King seemed to suggest that Smith is also having problems with conditioning. said he’s a good candidate to lose money this season and cited his contract:

“For every game in which Smith weighs more than 350 pounds and isn't on the 45-man active roster, Smith's paycheck will be cut in half. Based on Smith's base salary of $1.08 million, it means that he'd lose $317,000 each week in which he fails to make weight and doesn't dress for the game.”

On Friday, offensive line coach Paul Alexander was asked if the problem is the foot or conditioning and he said, “It appears to be both. My only comment in the whole situation is until he’s cleared to play, I’m not going to worry about him. When he gets cleared, we’ll start working on it. ... All I know is that he hasn’t been cleared yet, so we’re proceeding without him.”

That means Dennis Roland is back at right tackle and Alexander is fine with that. After getting cut five times, Roland was one of the feel-good stories of last season when he made 12 starts and emerged as a beast in the running game. At 6-9, he’s not a speed demon and has seemed to struggle at times with speed pass rushers. But Alexander is confident in his rock-ribbed technique.

“Roland’s a good player; the best technician we have,” Alexander said. “You either block guys because you have talent, or you do everything perfectly. It  doesn’t matter how as long as the guy gets blocked.”

 »  Friday was the first time the shoulder pads came on and for cornerback Adam Jones he didn’t look rusty at all even though he was wearing them for the first time in nearly two years. Thursday he said "Chad killed me," but he looked better Friday. He knocked down one pass to wide receiver Andre Caldwell and was all over Owens on a sideline route that Owens still managed to haul in.

» Hit of the day went to left guard Nate Livings when he pancacked middle linebacker Dhani Jones on a running play.

» Wide receiver Jerome Simpson made a couple of diving catches on deep balls and made a nice play ripping a short pass away from a DB. But the catch of the day was made by wide receiver Maurice Purify on a bomb from J.T. O'Sullivan. It was a basketball rebound where he stopped, leaped between two defenders and pulled it away from them.

» Quarterback Carson Palmer looked crisp on his intermediate routes, particulalry to Andre Caldwell, Owens and The Ocho, although he did manage to overthrow the 6-3 Owens once on the sideline and he hasn't been able to hook up with either of them on any deep balls. But it looks like he's got a nice rapport with The Ocho from sideline to sideline.

» Wide receiver Antonio Bryant missed his second practice as the coaches made good on their vow to keep him from aggravating his knee. But it’s too late to put him on the physically unprepared list at the beginning of the season because he worked in the first practice on Thursday, so they must believe he’ll respond.

» Safety Gibril Wilson worked Friday after his foot got stepped on midway through Thursday night’s practice and he sat it out.

» The media descended on running back Cedric Benson after practice, following up on the NFL's statement that he wouldn't be suspended for the assault charge in Austin, Texas. After his meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, he said he'll make changes in his life and that could be hiring security when he goes out.

“Everybody is looking to steal whatever money they can from you and you always have to beware,” Benson said.  “I enjoy hanging  out with friends and being social on weekends and  things like that."

Benson said he and Goodell talked about various ways of preventing such problems and that he understands that the rules are different for name players.

"There are all kinds of options we discussed,” Benson said. “It's unfortunate. (But) I chose to be a professional athlete, so I guess there are things I’m going to have to adjust to.”

 » Still no deal for Jermaine Gresham at No. 21. The Bengals have made an offer as they wait for the numbers on the deal for Houston running back Kareem Jackson at No. 20. Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas at 22 is still out.

» A total of 17 seniors from the football team at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan is at the camp this week. Keio has played football for 75 years and is coached by Kurt Rose, an Ohio native and Miami University graduate.


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