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Tuesday quick hits

Posted Aug 23, 2011


Chris Crocker

Updated: 4:15 p.m.

The Bengals veteran secondary isn’t too concerned about facing overall No. 1 draft pick Cam Newton when he quarterbacks the Panthers for the first three quarters in Thursday’s 7 p.m. game at Paul Brown Stadium.

Cornerbacks Leon Hall (64) and Nate Clements (150), along with safeties Chris Crocker (110) and Reggie Nelson (61) have combined to play in 385 NFL games and three of them, Hall Clements and Nelson, are first-rounders themselves.

“Cam Newton is still like the rest of us when we were coming in; eyes wide open,” Crocker said. “He’s still trying to learn a lot. ... It’s not like we’re going against Tom Brady. He’s going to put his best foot forward and on defense we’re going to try and go after him. The more experience you have in this game, the better off you are.  Anytime you have guys that have played a lot of football that supersedes athletic ability. You can be talented but if you don’t know what to do when, it doesn’t matter.”

Hall hopes Newton succeeds in the NFL, “but not particularly Thursday.”

“I’m excited to see him play, but I’m focused on the game. Not as much as Cam Newton coming in and starting,” Hall said. “I just want to go there and play the offense and see what we can see and keep improving.”

» Although Newton is playing three quarters, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis indicated his offensive starters will play less. Typically teams play their first groups into the second half in the third preseason name, but with the quick turnaround after Sunday night’s game on the road against the Jets, Lewis says it’s not typical and is going to go by the number of snaps he wants played. He did that Sunday and the first offense played a half and he pulled the first defense for what amounted to the last drive of the first half.

» Safety Taylor Mays, the newest Bengal acquired via a trade from the 49ers for what is believed to be a late-round draft pick next year, was whisked to a meeting with secondary coach Kevin Coyle during Tuesday’s media session. The plan is for him to do interviews after Tuesday’s 3 p.m. practice.

“That he does," said former teammate Manny Lawson when told it sounds like Mays has all the tools. “He’s big, strong, tall, fast. And he will hit you. That is true.”

Given how quickly Lawson has adapted to the Bengals defense after signing as a free agent and not practicing until Aug. 4, Lewis is hopeful that the 49ers’ defensive language is similar enough to what is in the Bengals playbook so that Mays can get some snaps against the Panthers.

But, as Lawson said, the Bengals have a completely different defense in a 4-3 instead of a 3-4, and most of it is installed. Plus, Bengals safeties have to learn to play both free and strong so they are interchangeable.

» Running back Cedric Benson said Tuesday he hasn’t received a letter from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell yet about a hearing regarding his arrest last month.  He’s hoping that means he won’t be facing any discipline because he figures he would have heard by now.

» Lewis said safety Gibril Wilson is going to play for the first time this season, 370 days after he tore his ACL in a PBS preseason game last year.

» Defensive tackle Pat Sims (knee), who has yet to practice this year, says he’ll return this weekend and play in the Sept. 1 preseason finale against the Colts at PBS. Once he practices, Sims can’t go on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) for six weeks to start the regular season. Also eligible to be PUP-ped are cornerback Adam Jones (neck) and linebacker Keith Rivers (wrist).

» Returning to practice Tuesday were tight end Jermaine Gresham (ankle), defensive lineman Jon Fanene (signed last week), and rookie wide receiver Ryan Whalen (hamstring). Out again were left end Carlos Dunlap (knee), rookie running back Jay Finley (ankle) and cornerback LeRoy Vann (finger). 

 

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