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Notes: Mates salute underrated Peko; Tez joins captains fold; Jackson lauds Flacco, Bodine

Posted Sep 4, 2014

Updated:  6 p.m.

Much has been made of Sunday’s matchup of Bengals rookie center Russell Bodine against Ravens Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Local 12), but in typical fashion, Bengals defensive tackle Domata Peko gets no love.

But the only interior linemen in the league with more tackles since 2011 are Peko and San Francisco’s Justin Smith. Smith and Ngata are Pro Bowlers. Peko has never made it, but since 2009 he’s missed just four games while being in the middle of four top ten defenses.

His teammates get it. This week they voted him one of their six captains for the year.

“All that matters is what the people inside these four walls think of me,” Peko said. “It’s a huge honor.”

Peko, in his ninth season, is a repeat captain. Pro Bowl WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict, in his third, was elected for the first time. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth and quarterback Andy Dalton again head the offense and linebacker Vincent Rey and running back Cedric Peerman again lead special teams.

“Any time you get that respect from your teammates and they look to you in that way for leadership, it’s a tremendous honor,” said Whitworth, who has been a captain for the past six seasons. “But with it comes a lot of responsibility and we won’t take that lightly.”

SUPER JOE: As the Ravens quarterbacks coach in 2008, Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson lobbied for the club to draft Joe Flacco and he’s not surprised that Flacco now stands as Super Bowl champion and $100 million man.

“I’m very proud. I knew he would. If I stand up for a player and say this guy can play, he can usually play,’ said Jackson after Thursday’s practice. “I’m proud of what he’s done with his family and what he’s done for the city and the team. I just don’t want him to do it this week.

“He’s a tremendous. He’s very smart. He has a tremendous arm. He can throw it with anybody,’ Jackson said. “He has a fire I don’t think a lot of people know and see.”

Flacco also has the kind of poise that Jackson sees in Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. In Flacco’s NFL debut six years to the day of this opener, he helped beat the Bengals on a 38-yard touchdown run, an improbable play by a classic pocket passer.

“Bad play for us,” said cornerback Leon Hall. “If it was Michael Vick, it’d be one thing. But it was Joe Flacco.”

It’s exactly how the double reverse was supposed to go if the Bengals blitzed. Flacco was supposed to keep it and run. He has yet to run that far again in 95 more games.

“He recognized it was a blitz, he didn’t hand it to a receiver, he kept it and went down the sideline,” Jackson said. “He kept his poise and that’s the thing you look for. I don’t like to compare people, but I like our guy. He has that kind of poise and he has to demonstrate that play in the pressure situations and he will.”

ANOTHER ROOKIE: Six years later and again Jackson is involved in starting a rookie in a key spot in an opener. Center Russell Bodine has to negotiate the crowd noise of a building that has seen just 18 losses in the last decade.

He’s looking at the experience from the other four linemen and sees a total of 224 NFL starts and 58 of them next to Bodine at guard.

He’s really come on lately,” Jackson said. “We have the right makeup there. If  things get a little uneasy, which we know  they can, I think the kid’s character, his poise will get him back in line. But No. 2  I think it’s a good  group of guys he can turn to that will say, ‘Let’s go.”

 

 

SPEEDY MOVE: Make no mistake. The newest Bengal on the practice squad, rookie wide receiver Tevin Reese, can run. Clocked at 4.46 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine, Reese says he’s been as low as 4.31 and he ran the 300-meter hurdles in 37.65 seconds while at Temple High School in Texas.

A seventh-round pick of the Chargers, the 5-10, 170-pound Reese got cut last week and hooked on with the Bengals Wednesday when wide receiver Cobi Hamilton apparently moved on.

The Bengals had some interest in Reese during the draft and it percolated when wide receivers coach James Urban got on the horn with him this week.

“Other teams called, but after I saw the interest Coach Urban and the staff wanted me, it was a one-way street where I wanted to go,” Reese said. “They had a genuine feeling they wanted me and I had the same thing.”

Hamilton and Reese were among the NFL leaders in drops during the preseason, according to profootballfocus.com with three each. But Reese put up some astounding numbers in his final season at Baylor, where he averaged 22.8 yards per his 38 catches with eight touchdowns.

"We had a lot of option routes at Baylor," Reese said. "We'd be sitting in the flat for eight yards and outrun everybody for a touchdown. Everybody loves scoring touchdowns. That's what I love doing."

SLANTS AND SCREENS: After backup guard Mike Pollak (knee) took a rest day Wednesday, the starting left side of the offensive line took one Thursday with guard Clint Boling (knee) and left tackle Andrew Whitworth (knee) resting. Officially it is called a veteran's rest day. The heavy work had been done Wednesday in shoulder pads with Thursday reserved for helmets and shells. Pollak was back full go.

The Bengals could go in to Baltimore Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Local 12) with four wide receivers. Marvin Jones (foot) has already been declared out and rookie James Wright (concussion) did more Thursday than Wednesday, but he didn’t wear a helmet…

Linebacker Sean Porter (hamstring) is still out…

Thursday felt like the hottest practice of the summer at 93 degrees. Burfict was limited because of the heat and rookie cornerback Darqueze Dennard (hip) was also limited.

The oldest Bengal, cornerback Terence Newman, turned 36 Thursday. The youngest Bengal, rooke running back Jeremy Hill, won't turn 22 until Oct. 20...

 

 

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