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Quick Hits: Meet 'Overload,' Bengals' New Heavy Package Starring Amarius Mims; Tips From Trey; Secondary Does It Again

OT Amarius Mims during rookie mini camp on Friday, May 10, 2024 at the IEL Practice Facility in Cincinnati, Ohio.
OT Amarius Mims during rookie mini camp on Friday, May 10, 2024 at the IEL Practice Facility in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Amarius Mims, the 6-8, 350-pound Georgia right tackle the Bengals airlifted out of the first round with the 18th pick, can remember being stunned enough by someone else's size to utter, "Oh my God," maybe only once or twice before he met Bengals' new right tackle Trent Brown earlier this week.

One was definitely a few years ago when he met Shaquille O'Neal, the big man who engulfed the NBA's turn of the century. But the 6-8, 380-pound Brown is the first one he's been adjacent to on the line of scrimmage in what turned out to be a celestial moment in Bengals history.

This first-of-its-kind Orange-and-Black eclipse occurred Tuesday during the mandatory minicamp when head coach Zac Taylor tried out his new Jumbo package reserved for goal-line and short-yardage situations.

But Brown and Mims are lobbying for it at any point in the game. So is left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., the other brick in this Great Wall of Bengaldom at 6-8, 345 pounds.

He's even named the Jumbo package.

"We should call it 'Overload,'" Orlando said. "A lot of body out there. The double teams are going to wear people down and it's going to force people to play us honest."


"We're bound to get five-plus," Mims said after Wednesday's practice. "Man, I think that's going to be one of the most unstoppable packages. A lot of mass. A lot of mass wins. (Trent Brown) is way bigger than me. I met him for the first time this week and I was like, 'Oh my God.' I'm used to being the big one. I saw Shaq at an event in college and I got to lay my eyes on him, and he was a big dude, too. But Trent …"

It's just that Trent Brown, a 10-year vet the Bengals signed a month before the draft, plays the same position and Mims' eyes are popping at one of the NFL's most reliable pass protectors of the last decade.

"If you watch his initial kick on pass pro and how he gets his leg out as fast as possible, I was working on that today in practice," Mims said.

After that practice, Mims wandered out of the rookies' locker room and pulled up the chair next to Brown's locker and the two chopped it up. Orlando Brown is a few doors down offering his four Pro Bowls of experience.

A family emergency curtailed Trent Brown's participation in the voluntary workouts, but he's wasted no time delving into helping Mims. Mims gets plenty of advice from Orlando, but he's actually able to watch Trent work his side.

"He's just saying, 'Play like you're 6-8, 350. Make those guys go through you. Play like you're big. Use your size to your advantage.'

"It's a gift and a curse to be big in this game," Mims said. "Sometimes you can get out-leveraged or carry your pads too high. But when you've got that much mass, height, and athleticism, it's kind of hard for people to get around you. Orlando and Trent, those guys have been great. I'm fortunate to have vets like that with me on and off the field."

Brown, 31, has been around for 100 games, started four more in the playoffs, and was a big reason (yes, literally and figuratively), Bill Belichick and Tom Brady won that last Super Bowl. He likes the look of Mims.

"He's a cool rookie. Mature. Eager to learn. He's going to be all right," Trent Brown said. "I feel like he's engaged with the right mindset. He takes coaching well. Always has a smile on his face. That's the kind of guy you want on your team and in your locker room for sure."

MORE VET HELP: Bengals Pro Bowl sacker Trey Hendrickson could be seen working with other edgers on the side Wednesday at the IEL Indoor Facility, vet backups Joseph Ossai and Myles Murphy, as well as undrafted rookie Justin Blazek, the two-time Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year for Div. III Wisconsin-Platteville. Blazek has been weaned on the power thrusts of Maxx Crosby and T.J. Watt and noticed Hendrickson's swipe moves during the Bengals' Super Bowl run two years ago.

"It's not my big move, but I'm starting to work on it," Blazek said. "He's telling me about hand speed, getting my hands out on blockers, and he's been super helpful getting me lined up where I need to be and where my keys are."

They've also bonded over small-schoolness (Hendrickson is out of Florida Atlantic) and Hendrickson has advised him how important special teams are in making the roster. He's made Blazek aware during his first three seasons in the league he played between 20 and 30% of the kicking-game snaps.

"The benchmark of excellence," is what Blazek says he's gleaned from Hendrickson. "Good enough is never enough. It's not, 'Do it until you get it right,' it's 'Do it so you won't get it wrong.'

"A great vet to learn from. You have to help him help you. He explained to me how he was on special teams as well early in his career and that helps me see a common path."

BALL, BALL, BALL: Backup linebacker Shaka Heyward came up with an interception off cornerback DJ Turner's tipped ball in Wednesday's seven-on-seven and, of course, the first man to greet him was starting backer Germaine "All About the Ball" Pratt coming out of the crowd behind the line of scrimmage.

Pratt, the man who stole Zac Taylor's first playoff win with a last play-pick on the 2 and robbed Brock Purdy with a red-zone pluck to beat the Niners in San Francisco last year, gets just as excited about a minicamp interception not even by him.

"That's what the defense needs to do. Get the ball back for the offense," Pratt said after practice. "And any time you're playing against an elite quarterback like 9 (Joe Burrow) and you've got all these DBs on the field, it gets you going."

The 6-3, 238-pound Heyward spent all last season on the practice squad after signing undrafted out of Duke and he finds himself pushing for a roster spot with veterans Joe Bachie and Devin Harper, as well as two more undrafted rookies in Indiana's Aaron Casey and Wisconsin's Maema Njongmeta. The rookies have had to wait while Heyward has been teamed with either Harper or special teams staple Akeem Davis-Gaither behind the first pair of Pratt and Logan Wilson. He feels more at ease this time around.

"I feel like the coaches trust me," Heyward said. "I'm going out here to show why they grabbed me in free agency and prove what they say about me is true. When I was a rookie, I was looking at only our playbook. Now I'm looking at what the offense is doing and what the special teams' game plan is against us."

A refresher:

He won Duke's Vincent Rey Award twice as the club's top linebacker and received a trophy named after the former Bengal. He's fast enough and athletic enough to be known as a good blitzer in college, where they loved his production of 3,400 career snaps with 340 tackles, 32.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, four interceptions, five fumble recoveries, and nine PBUs.

SLANTS AND SCREENS: On Wednesday, Orlando Brown Jr., now merely the third biggest guy on his team, started ticking off the Bengals' field-goal protection team.

He started with 6-5, 255-pound tight end Drew Sample, then went to Mims, then himself. Then the 6-3, 329-pound Cody Ford, teeny 6-2, 238-pound long-snapper Cal Adomitis, 6-4, 335-pound Trey Hill and he stopped after the punctuation mark of 6-8, 380-pound Trent Brown.

"I'd like to know the analytics on that stuff," Brown wondered.

Told they shouldn't have any field-goal blocks, Brown said, "There shouldn't be anything." ….

Another good day for a secondary that flew around for the second straight practice and got its hands on a slew of balls. The defense had four straight PBUs against Burrow, which is as rare as an eclipse. Converted cornerback Dax Hill started at left cornerback again and knocked away a contested ball with wide receiver Andrei Iosivas in a maze of limbs on the sideline.

Hill also frustrated Burrow when he appeared to arrive late for a ball he tipped away from wide receiver Shedrick Jackson over the middle as Burrow seemed to want a penalty flag for pass interference.

Throw in Turner's tip for a pick and, like veteran slot cornerback Mike Hilton said, "It was a good day." He agreed it did remind him of his first training camp here in 2021 with fellow free-agent pickups Chidobe Awuzie and Eli Apple just blanketing people.

Of course, wide receivers Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase aren't working this week, but it's not lost on Hilton that the young players who have replaced those guys (Hill, Turner, Cam Taylor-Britt) have juice.

"We got our hands on a lot of balls today. We've got the same kind of guys who have the same mentality," Hilton said. "We've got dogs. They want to make plays against our offense, which is explosive, and we want to make it challenging for them. Different guys, but the same mentality. We have one goal. To be champions and we have to have one of the best secondaries in the league and we've got the guys to do it."

With the return of safety Vonn Bell, Pratt can see the parallel to 2021: "We've got a lot of DBs running around, making plays. We gave up too many explosive plays (last year) and we have to get better every day …

Ja'Marr Chase didn't work again Wednesday, but he made some nice one-handed grabs when he was feeding the ball during a route-running drill …

In his stead, wide receiver Kwamie Lassiter II made the play of the day when he made a one-handed grab that he turned into a back-shoulder catch during seven-on-seven …

Running back Chase Brown didn't work Wednesday but was dressed. Wide receiver Trenton Irwin walked off in his socks after Wednesday' first play of sevens … But neither player seemed seriously injured …

Don't expect them to go Thursday on the last day of minicamp. In fact, don't look for a lot of the starters to work as Taylor tries to get everybody out of here intact for the next time they meet. Which is July 24 and the opening of training camp …