As expected, the Bengals' long active/PUP list shouldn't put a dent in their regular season.
Head coach Marvin Lewis said at Tuesday 's training camp luncheon at Paul Brown Stadium that he expects all his players to be ready for the Sept. 7 opener in Baltimore and star defenders Leon Hall and Geno Atkins could make their practice debuts by next week.
Hall, making a second miraculous rehab from a torn Achilles in three years, figures to be out there for Thursday's first camp practice if Wednesday's conditioning test goes as expected. Atkins, the two-time Pro Bowl tackle coming off ACL surgery, is apparently right behind.
"Leon's goal was to be out there the very first practice. He'll probably achieve that goal," Lewis said. "He's done it better this time than last time.
"Geno's goal is to be out there the very first practice. I'm going to keep him from achieving that goal because I want to lay eyes on Geno for a few days. That's what I told him yesterday. He's going to start on PUP and as soon as he and I agree he's ready to go in the rigors of practice, we'll feel good about it."
On Tuesday the Bengals added guard Mike Pollak (knee) to the active/physically unable to perform list after he sat out all of spring ball. It's believed tight end Tyler Eifert didn't make the list and should be ready to go after he bruised his shoulder the first week of spring practice. Still no word on the status of tight end Jermaine Gresham.
Lewis is still getting over how well Hall played in 2012 coming off the 2011 surgery. He can't wait to see what he's got in store Thursday.
"His speed became better last time. Which is really something. I thought he played faster in 2012 than he did before," Lewis said. "I think that's what excites him about this. 'Maybe anatomically I've got something that made me better.' He's excited about it.
"Speed is part of playing cornerback. You can't play it without speed. He wasn't a low 4.3 runner when he came out, but he was in the 4.4s because you're going to have to do that to be taken at that spot. I saw no compromise with his speed. You have to have speed to play on our football team because the guys on the other side have big speed, long speed, so you have to be able to run or it shows."
DALTON TALKS: Bengals president Mike Brown is upbeat about the Andy Dalton talks. Speaking highly of him as a leader and player, Brown said before the luncheon, "You can count on one thing, he's going to be the quarterback here for the immediate future."
That means if the Bengals don't get an extension before the end of the season, Brown said they'd consider putting the one-year franchise tag on Dalton in a move that would keep him off the market in 2015. But Brown is confident they'll get a long-term deal.
"We've had numerous discussions and I think like most of these matters, it will find an ending soon enough," Brown said. "But I'm not going to stand here and predict when that will be."
Brown said the club has looked at the recent extension for 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, drafted one spot behind Dalton in 2011 and a veteran of two NFC title games.
"We tend to think our deal should be something in that range, not way beyond it," Brown said.
But that's a difficult deal to break down definitively because there are so many variables when it comes to guarantees and team options. As Brown said of the most recent quarterback deals, "(Agents) like to refer to some of these deals and we like to refer to some of these deals. It's the way this works….There's always something that cuts for the team or cuts for the player."
OFFENSIVE ID: For years people were frustrated by the Bengals' lack of identity on offense. Then when new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson came along and said the identity is going to be running the football, people questioned his commitment to the passing game.
Talk about the Dept. of Damned If You Do…
On Tuesday, Jackson set the record straight.
"I said running the ball is going to be our identity. It's not going to be the only thing we do," Jackson said. "We have to run the football.
"(But) we've got too much talent on the outside (not to throw the ball)," he said. "I've got the ninth best player voted in the league (wide receiver A.J. Green) and I'm not going to get him the ball? Then I don't need this job."
The up-tempo of the spring drills is going to jet into July, he feels. He's not setting any limits in the huddle, but they better not dawdle.
"We want to play as fast and furious as we can. There won't be a dull moment, because we are going to be a very aggressive unit," Jackson said. "As we continue to get toward the season and our team starts to shrink we'll start moving in that direction of a time limit of what we want to accomplish. We'd like to get to the line of scrimmage with 15-16 seconds left so the quarterback can make decisions, but I've never sat there and said this is the time it had better be between plays."