Cedtic Ogbuehi is playing more confidently this training camp.
On the 19th anniversary of his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Tuesday, the always accommodating Anthony Munoz is asked about advice for one Cedric Ogbuehi, the Bengals' new left tackle.
Even though he last took a snap the year Ogbuehi was born 25 years ago, Munoz is still considered the greatest left tackle of all time. During those 13 years with the Bengals Munoz turned what had been a brutish position into ballet. Ogbuehi is the latest in the line Michael Anthony Munoz started.
Lean. Explosive. Quick. Fast.
"He's big, strong, athletic," Munoz says.
But he prefers to talk about something else.
"The way I approached my whole career it's all about technique and believing in technique. That's confidence," Munoz says. "It's all about believing it. Trusting it."
Munoz, the Bengals' preseason TV analyst on Channel 12, plans to see it up close and personal at two practices next week as he prepares to work the Aug. 11 opener against Tampa Bay at Paul Brown Stadium. He hears that Dave Lapham, the man who started at left guard next to Munoz in the Bengals' first Super Bowl and the Bengals' long-time radio analyst, believes Ogbuehi is playing with more confidence in this his third season.
"Confidence. I like that word," Munoz says. "When you have confidence, you play fast, you're quicker, you're more decisive. You're not hesitant. I like that word. You have to have confidence."
The Bengals don't practice Wednesday and on Tuesday they wrapped up the first five days of work rather encouraged about their two young tackles after seeing them in shoulder pads for three of the five days. Lapham agrees with one club assessment that right tackle Jake Fisher has been their most consistent lineman of the first week after putting on what he calls "30 good pounds," after an offseason of redistributing it.
"Snap in and snap out he's been as good as any of them," Lapham says.
It's welcome news because right guard may still be up in the air. Transplanted right tackle Andre Smith has worked there only two of the five days because of a coach's decision and an elbow injury.
Lapham keeps going back to Ogbuehi's state of mind.
"Ced is night and day when it comes to playing and mentally," Lapham says. "I think he was broken last year. He couldn't look you in the eye. A lot of it is mental and mentally he appears light years better."
For Munoz, everything is mental.
"The thing I would say is that you're a No. 1 pick. They expect you to take over for the other guy. It's time. He can be the guy. They've showed that they believe in him," Munoz says. "When they made me the No. 1 pick (1980), my goal was to come in and prove them right. It took me three days, but the attitude was I'm going to do whatever it takes to prove they were right."
Both Munoz and Lapham are extremely impressed by what Ogbuehi brings to the table. "He's got all the tools," Munoz says. And Lapham says of both Ogbuehi and Fisher, "Their feet and skill set definitely translate. They weren't mis-evaluated."
But it comes back to the mental game.
"They know you can do it," Munoz says. "They want you to do it. Now it's just a matter of going out and doing and being confident in what you're doing."
Cincinnati Bengals host Training Camp at Paul Brown Stadium Practice Fields 8/1/2017