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Quick Hits: Do-It-All Dax Hill Ready For Anything; Chase Brown Investing In His Craft

DB Dax Hill
DB Dax Hill

Whenever you ask the Bengals what's next for Dax Hill, they tell you he can play any position in the secondary. And when he showed up for work Monday at Paycor Stadium on the first day of offseason voluntary workouts, he said he's ready to do exactly that.

"Anything, to be honest. That's my strength. I feel like that's what God gave me and I'm just going to do that the best I can," Hill said. "I can't really predict the future. I can control what I put out on a daily basis. What I put out weekly. That's something I try to do the best that I can. Whatever position that is going forward. I'm just going to do the best I can."

Hill revealed that the Bengals reached out to him during free agency when they signed safeties Geno Stone and Vonn Bell after his first full NFL season playing free safety with a defense-leading 1,091 snaps. When Hill broke into the NFL in 2022 as their first-round pick out of Michigan, he played most of his 131 snaps at his college position in nickel.

"I appreciate that, just having that conversation before things turned out and just hearing them out on why they did the things they did," Hill said. "Whatever happened, I can't control that. I'm just going to put my best foot forward … I'm not really stressing out about what's to come. I've been through so much the first two years, it's nothing that I'm not used to.

"We'll see how things go, but everything's kind of just up in the air, we'll see how things go and just play it from there. Whatever they ask of me, whatever that is, I'm going do it. But I mean, whatever the position that I'll be in, I'm going to give it my all."

Hill is used to doing it all. What that is in 2024 remains to be put together by head coach Zac Taylor and defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo.

"We've had a pretty good idea in our minds and we'll let the offseason play out with that before we get into it here," Taylor said Monday when asked of the plan. "We feel comfortable with our communication with Dax and where that all stands."

The defense was rocked last year by so many big plays that the Bengals were among the NFL leaders in allowing passes of at least 30 yards. But Hill also had an extremely productive season in his first full year of playing pure NFL safety.

Hill and Antoine Winfield Jr. were the only safeties in the league that had at least 110 tackles and six of them for a loss to go with double-digit passes defensed. It was more productive than the rookie year of the man he replaced, Jessie Bates III: 111 tackles, none for a loss, and seven passes defended.

"(I was) just stepping into a role that a lot of people, I don't know, 'We'll just see how it plays out with the guys that they've had.' With reflection, I feel like I did some good things and some things I need to correct. I'm glad last year happened," Hill said. "There were a lot of good plays I had. I feel like there weren't a lot of bad plays I gave up. It's just funny how some things are laid out. It is what it is. That's what it comes with."

STARTING THE CHASE: The new Bengals backfield met for the first time Monday. Chase Brown greeted newcomer Zack Moss Monday ("Zack, what's going on, bro?") as Moss walked to his locker, but Brown said, "We've talked online a little bit," and he's done his homework on Moss.

"Quick, strong, low-pad level," Brown said.

All indications are it's going to be back-by-committee with the departure of bell-cow Joe Mixon and Brown is not only ready mentally, but physically, too.

"I was close with Mixon. I hit him up, so he'll definitely be missed," Brown said. "But there's a lot of opportunity over here. Everybody's (role) expands in a way."

Brown has spent the offseason getting ready for more pounding after a rookie year had just 58 touches and he returns with the no-nonsense demeanor that so impressed them last season. He kept the travel to a minimum (he went home to Ontario for a week, visited his girl friends' parents in San Diego, and did some marketing in Las Vegas Super Bowl week) so he could train.

"I have a lot of people now around me to help keep my body in shape," Brown said. "I learned so much from last season and I'm taking that knowledge and doubling it in year two. I'm going to have a trainer with me and have a physical therapist and masseur come over to my house a few times a week.

"It's investing in the craft, investing in my body. I think that's where people are wrong, a little bit (in the offseason). They focus a little too much on the extracurriculars, travel, all that."

SLANTS AND SCREENS: Vonn Bell, or "Coach Vonn," as some call him, remains a popular figure after his one-year hiatus to Carolina. Hill considers him a mentor and The Coach agrees Hill can play anywhere.

But where is he best?

"Still evaluating," Bell said with a smile. "But, yeah, he can play anywhere." …

Lining up opposite new right tackle Trent Brown, a fellow 6-8 monster even bigger than him, left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., says the double extra-large reminds him of when he was a kid and his late father bookended with Hall-of-Fame left tackle Jonathan Ogden for the Ravens. How good were they?

"Jamal Lewis rushed for 2,000 yards and (quarterback) Kyle Boller had his best year." ….

Long-snapper Cal Adomitis, who signed his exclusive rights deal Monday, may now have the longest hair on the team after right guard Alex Cappa returned with shorn locks. Still close to the shoulders, but nothing like Adomitis ….

The Bengals made wide receiver Tee Higgins their franchise free agent early in the offseason and at his football camp this past weekend he said he expects to play this season in Cincinnati. On Monday Taylor wouldn't "speculate," on which players are going to participate in the program ... Taylor says he's been asked "hundreds," of times about Joe Burrow's rehab from wrist surgery. On Monday, he got another one and he reiterated that Burrow's rehab is "positive." ....