Notes: Sanu running; Alexander presenting; Agents meeting

Posted Feb 19, 2013

Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, who missed the last six games with a stress fracture in his left foot, says he's back running routes after being cleared in early February.

Mohamed Sanu

Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, who missed the last six games with a stress fracture in his left foot, says he's back running routes after being cleared in early February.

"It's great. It feels good. I've been working out and running," Sanu said this week during an interview about his experience at least year's NFL Scouting Combine. "I've been running routes for a while and it feels good."

It's believed Sanu, a third-round pick out of Rutgers, broke the fifth metatarsal, the long bone on the outside of the foot that connects to the little toe, when he went down in the Thursday practice before the Dec. 2 win in San Diego. Sanu not only caught the first four touchdown passes of his career in the previous three games, but he displayed plenty of versatility in his rookie season throwing a 73-yard touchdown on his first NFL pass, running for two first downs on third down and getting half of his 16 catches (154 yards) on third down.

Sanu's getting ready for the call from Dallas, where the receivers may be headed to do some informal throwing with Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in the next few months.

"We're going to get together at some point but we haven't hooked up yet," Sanu said.

SUPER SUMMIT: In a room with Hall of Famer John Madden, the league's new NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino, and the NFL Competition Committee, Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander on Monday gave the line's side of the story when it comes to some of the biggest issues in the game.

"It was a crowded room. A lot of heavy hitters were in there. It was fun," Alexander said after the meeting in Indianapolis. "I thought it was good dialogue. Good communication. I don't know where it goes from here."

The competition committee, of which Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is a member, takes it under advisement for the next month before it presents rule changes and new points of emphasis to be voted on by the teams at next month's annual league meeting in Arizona. The committee continues to meet in Indianapolis this week before the NFL Scouting Combine and then another week next month before presenting its agenda to teams.

Alexander, in his 19th season coaching the Bengals line, was tapped to represent how his fellow line coaches and players view the chop block and holding. The chop block, a block below the waist on a defensive player that is already engaged, is already outlawed on a pass. But Alexander and his peers believe it has to remain an option in the running game.

"The problem is they're mostly done on the back side of plays," Alexander said. "If someone is running to cut someone off, if he can't get there he better dive out there and try to cut him. I don't know how you'd run outside plays if you don't have the ability to cut on the back side when it was necessary."

Holding is more of a gray area and Alexander opted to present about a half dozen situations.

"I was hoping to share some perspective why certain things happen. Trying to share some technical knowledge of blocking with those that are officiating the games," Alexander said. "Showing them situations why coaches and offensive linemen would consider holding calls not holding and why that is."

Alexander had some case studies for Blandino and some of his officials. According to the 2012 league stats, the Bengals were accessed 30 holding calls, seventh-most in the NFL.

"If there is one common trait," Alexander said, "we believe typically if a man has his hands inside (the defender's width) and has his feet moving, then he should be pretty good to go. But that's not how it's ruled."

Taking the defense's side in the meeting were Texans defensive line coach Bill Kollar, as well as Texans defensive end Antonio Smith, Packers defensive lineman Ryan Pickett, and former NFL defensive end Patrick Kerney. The Texans have a vested interest in the topic of low blocks since one ended the season of linebacker Brian Cushing.

"No one in this league is looking to stain the game with cheap hits; we all want to avoid those," Alexander said.

Alexander had a big guy on his side in Lewis and joked about how much they agree.

"I think Marvin and I agree on all these things," he said. "We went around the room when they had an informal straw poll on a different issue and I voted like Marvin voted. When they asked me about that I said, "Because I work for Marvin."

COMBINE DANCE: With the agents' annual meeting in Indy this week along with the combine, there are plenty of chances for teams to meet with them about their impending free agents. It's believed the Bengals have already reached out to several agents already and could follow up in Indy. The club lunched with right end Michael Johnson's agent, Rick Smith, at last month's Senior Bowl.

One meeting you know is going to happen this week is between Bengals vice president of player personnel Paul Brown and the Denver-based Peter Schaffer. They've made a sushi dinner an annual combine event for about 15 years and no doubt they'll discuss cornerback Adam Jones at this one. Jones is a free agent the Bengals would like to re-up after what many believe was one of the best of his six seasons.

Tuesday was the first day teams could designate their franchise free agents and they have three more weeks to make the call until free agency begins. The Bengals would like to get long-term deals with what figure to be their top two priorities in Johnson and right tackle Andre Smith. The leader in the clubhouse to be tagged? Probably Johnson and his 11.5 sacks, but it is early.


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