Palmer lauds attitude; Smith agent change?

Posted May 19, 2009

Posted: 7:15 p.m.

Carson Palmer has been pumping up his team all offseason and he had even more to say after he practiced with them for the first time since the shortened Oct. 3 workout before the Dallas game.

With 40 players that weren't here a year ago, Palmer acknowledged the Bengals have the most different feel since he arrived in 2003.

"Most different locker room. Most different attitude. Most different work ethic," he said. "I've said it all along. It's going to be a great year. I'm excited. We've got a lot of leadership. A lot of guys that want it. You don't always have to have the best talent. It's not about having the most guys under 4.4 (speed). It's having the most guys that want to work hard every day and practice and work at it and that's what we've got a locker room of."

Palmer didn't have much to say about Tuesday's two missing players that happened to be off his unit in wide receiver Chad Ochocinco and fullback Jeremi Johnson.

"We've got guys that want to work that are here," he said. "We've got guys that want those spots, that want to play in that position. They're competing, they're battling. That's all you can ask."

Palmer has been particularly vocal about wide receiver Chris Henry. After a four-year career as a player mostly used in three wides, Henry, Palmer says, is ready to play every snap at the X receiver spot The Ocho has held down for the last seven full seasons.

"That's what he's been preparing for and that's what I've been preparing for. I've been working with him," Palmer said. "He's determined, he's hungry. It's fun to see."

Palmer raved about Henry's first play out of the huddle when Henry not only ran the right "hot" route after reading the blitz, but he also caught it and "would have probably split the safeties" and scored.

And Palmer agrees with head coach Marvin Lewis that this team is more equipped emotionally to handle being documented by Hard Knocks during up-and-close personal training camp.

"I think we've got the right kind of guys," Palmer said. "Some of the other guys we've had on this team, it would have been all about them. The group of guys we have now, it’s not about any individuals. It's about our team. I think that it will be good. It will be good to get some exposure because we're not getting a whole lot with no national television games. We've got the right group in the locker room to handle that."

AGENT SWITCH?  The word going around the league Tuesday is that Bengals rookie right tackle Andre Smith has gone back to the agent he fired just before the NFL Draft in Alvin Keels. One league source even said, "It's a done deal," but Keels declined comment in an e-mail Tuesday.

The buzz surfaced after Smith's first workout with the Bengals' full squad. He said after the first OTA of the spring that he had yet to decide on an agent after firing Rick Smith about three weeks after he hired him.

"It's personal," he said.


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