BY GEOFF HOBSON
The NFL season opens Sunday and even though the Bengals don't play for another week, their coach is already getting the mid-season treatment. The national publications have made Bruce Coslet their automatic "on the hot seat" guy. But you don't have to be a guru from Canton to figure that out since since Coslet is working on the final year of his contract after two seasons at 7-25.
Still, the man who hired Coslet and could choose not to rehire him, Bengals President Mike Brown, bristles at the pundits who already have Coslet gone.
"How would they know?" Brown asked. "He wouldn't be here if I didn't think he could do the job. He's a knowledgeable football guy and a lot of what has happened isn't his fault. I think he can get us back on the winning track."
But the expectations are also greater from management. What makes this season different than all the rest is that a new stadium must be filled and Brown thinks there is more talent on both sides of the ball than what has been here the past few seasons.
"I feel we have a real chance to do better," Brown said.
THIS AND THAT: Tight end Tony McGee sat out today's practice with a slight case of ankle tendinitis, but trainer Paul Sparling said McGee's roster-best streak of 103 straight starts isn't in jeopardy. . .Defensive end Vaughn Booker sat out practice with some knee swelling and hopes to return Thursday. . .Cornerback Artrell Hawkins (knee) sat out today, as did safety
Tremain Mack (ankle). . . The chief city prosecutor in Federal Way, Wash., Gurjit Pandher, said today there's a chance the fourth-degree assault charge on Pro Bowl running back Corey Dillon could be dropped after people in his domestic violence division interview Dillon's wife. But he said at the moment the police report gives him enough evidence to go with the case. If it is dropped, Pandher said it won't happen before the Sept. 27 pre-trial hearing.
... The Bengals are working on pro[posals offering contract extensions to center Rich Braham and Guard Matt O'Dwyer