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Notes: Bodine in line; Campbell still iffy but working; Blitzing back

Posted Aug 18, 2014

Rookie center Russell Bodine got a ringing endorsement from his position coach Monday with the Sept. 7 regular-season opener in Baltimore now less than three weeks away.

The Bengals hope Jason Campbell can be back and throwing like this for Sunday.


Russell Bodine got a ringing endorsement from his position coach after Monday’s practice when Paul Alexander said it is “full speed ahead,” with the Bengals rookie center heading into the Sept. 7 regular-season opener in Baltimore that is now less than three weeks away.

 “It doesn’t matter how I feel, that’s how it’s going to be. He’s taken the first (group) snaps since OTAs,” said Alexander, in his 20th season as the Bengals offensive line coach. “He’s got so much talent. He’s got a tough, physical demeanor and can block the big nose guards in our division. He’s exactly the type of player we’ve been looking for. It’s full speed ahead with Bodine.”

Bodine, a fourth-round pick out of North Carolina, has had some unnerving bad shot-gun snaps in training camp as well as a bad one in the opener in Kansas City. But offensive coordinator Hue Jackson noted there were no bad ones among his 23 snaps Saturday. But he did have a holding call at the Jets 8 and while Jackson is pushing Bodine to clean up his mistakes, he likes the way he embraces the physical game.

Bodine emerged from his battle against Jets’ 6-4, 350-pound nose tackle Damon “Snacks,’ Harrison with a few hors d’oeuvres and came out of it in pretty good shape in a preview of what he’ll get in the AFC North. In the first quarter, running back Giovani Bernard, Bodine’s former Carolina teammate, averaged 4.2 yards per five carries against a defensive front that led the NFL last year allowing just 3.4.

 “He’s got the right characteristics. It’s not that,” Jackson said. “It’s been about the snaps. It’s been every now and then there’s a call here or there. But I’ve been happy with him. I’m going to push him as far as I can push him. I want them to be as good as they can be.

“At the end of the day there has to be that comfort level we all have to have at that position snapping the ball back to the quarterback.  He understands that and has worked to get better at that and there wasn’t a bad one the other night. He got a holding call. We’ll smooth it and keep it going.”

Bodine was in the middle of the big push on third-and-one from the Jets 1 that netted Bernard a touchdown where everybody finished in the end zone.

“That was pretty good group work,” Bodine said. “We kind of shoved up in there, moved the pile, and got in the end zone. It was an effort play.  It’s got to be a statement situation for all of us. You can’t be that close and not get it for a touchdown.”
Bodine, who turned 22 the month before camp, is an unflappable rookie. He shoved back and forth pretty well with Harrison and the unsuccessful third-and-one that ended the first offense’s night with a two-yard loss came as the result of an unspecified missed call somewhere.

 “They went to a little bit of Bear front, they were walking around a little bit, but that’s not an excuse,” Bodine said. “Anytime you hand the ball off, you need to get a yard”

Bodine’s checklist on getting better hasn’t wavered at this camp.

“Just handling all the checks, all the stuff, the same thing it’s been the whole time,” Bodine said. “I’m kind of keeping the same attitude. I know I’m young, I know I’m going to make some mistakes. But don’t make the same mistakes twice and keep going in the same direction.”

CAMPBELL HOPING:

Backup quarterback Jason Campbell is going to try and throw this week, but his bruised throwing elbow hasn’t been a walk in the park. He said he couldn’t have played last Saturday night against the Jets even it had been the regular season.

But he was in Monday’s uniform of the day, helmets and shorts, and looked to throw the ball fairly easily. He could still be ruled out of Sunday’s game in Arizona (8 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 5).

They’ll need someone to throw this week after Tuesday’s day off. It looks like Tyler Wilson will be able to by then. Wilson, hit in the head late in last Saturday’s game, was with the other quarterbacks on the field but not suited up.

“Talking to the doctors they just want to make sure you get all the swelling out,” Campbell said before Monday’s practice. “A couple of days ago there was still some in there, but today I felt pretty good going in there this morning. Now just see how it reacts. I haven't thrown a ball hard yet so we'll see.”

SLANTS AND SCREENS:

Running back Rex Burkhead is on crutches and getting rehab for what is believed to be an MCL sprain and that can take anywhere from four to eight weeks to rehab…

That’s a tough injury, but the Bengals looked to come out of the Jets game in a lot better shape than when the night ended. The three rookies, running back Jeremy Hill (shoulder), wide receiver James Wright (hip), and linebacker Marquis Flowers (ankle), were suited up and on the field. First-round pick Darqueze Dennard (hip), was suited but on the sidelines. Also back after missing the game were tight end Tyler Eifert (shoulder), cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (hip) and defensive end Dontay Moch (unknown).

Also back was linebacker Sean Porter (knee), who has barely practiced this training camp after missing 2013 with a shoulder injury. Right tackle Andre Smith (concussion) is expected to play in the game this week and was out there like he was last week. Offensive line coach Paul Alexander is pretty pleased with how the offense has performed without his tackles in there at the same time and said they'll make a call on Smith once they see how he performs in practice the rest of the week...

Not practicing Monday with unknown ailments were defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry and wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher. Offensive lineman Mike Pollak (knee) was also out and linebacker J.K. Schaffer wasn’t on the field after getting hit in the head Saturday…

 It was hoped defensive tackle Geno Atkins (knee) would be able to work this week so he could make his debut this week in Arizona. He was suited up and did the individual drills, but practice closed to media before the team drills started so it was unclear if he is practicing yet in all phases…

Alexander is one guy not very pleased with how Jets head coach Rex Ryan blitzed all game Saturday night in New York’s 25-17 preseason victory.

“Notice he didn’t bring that stuff when our starters were out there,” said Alexander after Monday’s practice. “We would have scored quicker. He wants to put the starting defense out there and blitz all that garbage against the third stringers and he feels good about it, then all the power to him.” ...

Punter Kevin Huber is having a tough preseason and it hasn’t been his fault. He put the ball right where he wanted it on the 80-yard punt return touchdown in Kansas City and on Saturday night he had one blocked in the end zone for a safety. But Saturday he also had a long of 55 yards and put two of his five kicks inside the 20 with no touchbacks.

 “I hit it a lot better than the first game,’ Huber said. “I was rushing it in the first game. I didn’t slow it down, but I had better (pace) on my steps and had some good swings.”

 

   

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