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Lobby watching at NFL meetings


Andy Dalton is proving to be the man with the golden arm.

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Lobby watching Sunday during check-in at this week's NFL annual owners' meeting:

-Washington head coach Jay Gruden, Andy Dalton's first NFL offensive coordinator, says his old quarterback is virtually golden.

Gruden just watched wide receiver Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu snare big deals in free agency, but what else is new? Gruden's successor in Cincinnati, Hue Jackson, just went to Cleveland as head coach. And that's where Bengals slot receiver Andrew Hawkins got a big deal two years ago.

"(The Bengals) will be fine," Gruden said. "Andy will throw it to the open guy and he'll make someone else a couple of million dollars."

But then Gruden says that's the way he and Jackson drew it up and figures Ken Zampese, their quarterbacks coach and new coordinator, has also been a big influence.

"You have to tip your hat to that offensive scheme over there and the way Andy is throwing the ball around," Gruden said. "That's what that offense is supposed to be about. It's supposed to get people touches, just not A.J. (Green). Marvin and Mo got big contracts. A.J. has already established himself. (Tyler) Eifert will get a big deal. Giovani (Bernard) will get a great deal."

_Fresh off giving Sanu a five-year deal for $32 million, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff is confident he's found a No. 2 receiver for Pro Bowler Julio Jones even though Sanu had just 49 targets and 33 touches last season.

But Dimitroff knew there were also Green, Eifert, and Jones in the mix.

"We weren't concerned about that.  He had what we wanted in the No. 2," Dimitroff said. "The ability to separate, the athletic ability and the natural hands.

"He's a confident kid . . . and he's versatile. A tough, strong player. He gives us a nice mix in our rotation with Julio."

-No rest for the weary.  Jackson, just off Friday's visit to Berkley, Calif., for the workout of Cal quarterback Jared Goff, checked in for his second owners' meeting as a head coach.

Told there was some surprise he didn't pursue Jones or Sanu he said, "How do you know we didn't?"

Even with Jackson defecting within the division, it doesn't sound like this is going to be a Cold War, such as the one simmering with Bengals-Steelers. He agrees with Gruden that the offense won't be crippled despite the losses.

 "The Bengals are still going to be tough," Jackson said. "They've got one of the best head coaches in the league, some of the best owners, one of the best quarterbacks . . . and one of the best rosters in football."

-Adam Zimmer, the Vikings linebackers coach who assisted the Bengals defensive backs for a season in 2013 before following dad Mike to Minnesota, surfaced here for a day or two before heading over to the University of Florida's pro day.

He just got a former Bengal when the Vikings picked up linebacker Emmanuel Lamur in free agency. But Adam Zimmer didn't see all that much of Lamur during his one year in Cincy because Lamur suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the preseason.

"He's fired up," Zimmer said. "He's got good size. He's rangy (at 6-4) and he can really run. You just don't see a lot of big guys that can run like that."

-The Bengals arrived here without much bubbling in free agency. They've had good talks with nickel backer Taylor Mays in an effort to re-sign him this week. Former Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell visited late last week in their hunt for a veteran receiver.

They didn't pursue right tackle Andre Smith, now with the Zimmers for a year in Minnesota. The situations of veteran free-agent DBs Leon Hall and Reggie Nelson have yet to unfold.

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