A former Bengals assistant coach who has had a nice long look at new backup quarterback candidate
"He's a special kid who is a student of the game and has worked with a lot of good coaches," said former Bengals wide receivers coach Steve Mooshagian, who worked with Johnson his senior year. "He'll understand his role as the No. 2 guy, but he'll prepare like he's the starter."
When Jim Harbaugh left the University of San Diego, Mooshagian was the assistant head coach and receivers coach on the new staff that inherited Johnson in his last year and, from what he can remember, San Diego led the nation in offense in 2007 with Johnson throwing 43 touchdown passes and one interception.
"He knows where to go with the ball and his escape dimension gives him a much different dynamic," said Mooshagian, now the head coach at Ventura College. "He's got a great arm. No question he's a West Coast quarterback, but what separates him from the traditional quarterbacks is he also has the elements of a spread quarterback.
"He's been in all forms of the West Coast with Harbaugh and the Grudens. I think he's going to be more effective in the Bengals system than he was in Tampa. The guy really is a tremendous talent. I'm glad the Bengals got him because I think he's a guy that can help them in that role."
ABOUT TO STORM? All was quiet on the
But with Newman trying to finalize things as soon as possible and the right tackle market seemingly set with the Patriots reportedly re-signing Sebastian Vollmer for a base average salary of $4.25 million with incentives that could balloon to about $6 million per year, the Bengals are hoping to strike a deal this week with the agent that represents both players.
It's believed the Bengals have offered the 35-year-old Newman after a brilliant season at cornerback and that he's also mulling an offer from Oakland, but he and agent Ben Dogra haven't been saying much.
It remains to be seen how the Vollmer contract impacts Smith in a deal filled with play-time incentives. Vollmer, a second-round pick in 2009, has started 44 of a possible 64 games while Smith, the sixth pick in the same draft, has started 35 games after breaking the same foot twice in his first two seasons. In 2010, Vollmer was named second-team All-NFL by the Associated Press while Smith got some first-team votes in 2012.
FITZY SPEAKS: Former Bengals quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick wanted to wait until he signed his contract Monday in Tennessee to talk to the media and so he did with his usual honesty.
Last week Fitzpatrick visited with Bengals president Mike Brown and his family, as well as head coach Marvin Lewis, during the NFL meetings in Phoenix before opting for a two-year deal with the Titans to back up Jake Locker. Last week it was believed that Fitzpatrick chose Tennessee before it even got to the money stage with the Bengals, but he would only say Monday night that he thought the Titans "had more advantages" for his situation.
He said he was humbled by the respect Brown showed for his abilities during their meeting as the Bengals sketched out their plans for him to back up
"It's exciting to go to a new and different situation in Tennessee; it's a new adventure," said Fitzpatrick, who backed up Carson Palmer for two seasons in Cincinnati before starting three in Buffalo. "It wasn't an easy decision. They've got a great young nucleus with the Bengals and it would be exciting to be a part of that. I've got a lot of respect for everyone in that building, starting at the top and then with Marvin, Coach (Ken) Zampese and the guys that were there when I was there. But there were just more positives for me in Tennessee."
Reports had Fitzpatrick signing for two years at $6.5 million, a number that would have probably had the Bengals in the mix.
And he found out how really a small world it is. Fitzpatrick's offensive coordinator is 32-year-old Dowell Loggains, two years his senior. And his quarterbacks coach is Dave Ragone, the guy the Bengals traded to the Rams in 2006, where Fitzpatrick beat him out behind Marc Bulger and Gus Frerrote and ended Ragone's career.