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NFL meeting notes: no leap year; good news on Ced; a vote for Barnett


It sounds like Cedric Ogbuehi (with offensive line coach Paul Alexander) is putting in valuable time this offseason.

PHOENIX  - The Bengals' contingent is in place for this week's NFL annual meeting and it's always interesting because it's one of the two times during the year club president Mike Brown meets with the media.

He'll wait until the meetings break Wednesday morning to opine, but there's no question he'll have his pulse on two of the main issues bubbling at the surface: the Raiders' potential move to Las Vegas and the pace of the game.

Brown has never been a fan of franchise movement (just look at his own big, fat no to Baltimore two decades ago) and the fact that such an entrenched team liked the Raiders in Oakland is on the verge of moving from a bigger market to a smaller market has no doubt caught his eye.

And the pace of the game has long been a pet peeve of Brown's ever since voted against instant replay 22 years ago in this very Arizona board room.  The major thing he feared for the fans has happened. They have become the victims of seemingly endless delays while the officials review all sorts of replays.

Games are now inching up the three-hour-and-10 minute mark and the NFL must be feeling the heat. One of this week's proposals would replace the sideline replay monitor with a hand-held device and authorizes league officials viewing in New York to make the final decision and speed things up. Another proposal, for player safety reasons, would cut overtime sessions from a 15-minute quarter to 10 minutes and speed up the game.

 Other proposals make actions to conserve time illegal after the two-minute warning of either half and make it unsportsmanlike conduct to commit multiple fouls during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock.

Plus, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a letter to fans last week pledging to attack the pace and one way is to introduce the play clock between PATs and kickoffs.

"The goal is not necessarily to reduce game length, it's to reduce the amount of in-game down time and to just be more efficient in some of those areas," NFL director of officiating Dean Blandino told a conference call of media last week.

"We feel like if we can reduce some of that in game down time than the overall game time will take care of itself. Our games averaged just over three hours and seven minutes. That was down from the number in 2015. We expect that there will be a reduction in game time based on some of these changes but the focus is in game down time, being more efficient, and the entire game experience whether it's in the stadium or watching at home on TV. Just having a better experience as we talk about pace of game."

But there are competing interests. There is also a proposal that permits a coach to challenge any officials' decision except scoring plays and turnovers.

Bengals special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons isn't a big fan of the clock, though.

"That's quick," he said. "I like to talk and get things set up."

NO LEAPS AND BOUNDS: But Simmons does endorse the rule proposal that outlaws a leaper over the line of scrimmage to attempt to block a field goal and or extra point.

"I always thought that was the rule any way," Simmons said. "But they said there would be a penalty only if the contact with another player was deliberate and not incidental. But how can you tell what's deliberate and what's not? You can't. So it takes a lot of pressure off the officials. That's a tough call."

Other proposals eliminate the limit of three total challenges per team per game and the requirement that a team be successful on each of its first two challenges in order to be awarded a third challenge, move the line of scrimmage to the 20-yard line for any touchback where the kick goes through the uprights, and make permanent the rule that disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.

For the second straight year the NFL Competition Committee is also proposing to place the ball on the 25 after a touchback, as well as giving a receiver running a pass route defenseless player protection, making crack-back blocks prohibited by a backfield player who is in motion even if he is not more than two yards outside the tackle when the ball is snapped, and making it unsportsmanlike conduct to commit multiple fouls during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock.

CED LOOKING GOOD:  Fox Sports news hound Jay Glazer supplied some good omens about Bengals new left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi Sunday when he surfaced at the meetings. Ogbuehi wanted to spend this offseason working on defending the bull rush and that's exactly what he's been doing.

For the last month Glazer has been working with Ogbuehi and other NFL players at his Unbreakable Camp in the Hollywood Hills that is basically MMA training for football. Leverage, toughness, resilience are all on the agenda.

"If you can go five three-minute rounds with one minute off in between, you can go for eight seconds in the NFL," Glazer said. "It's demoralizing what we do. It's so tough physically that it's the mental game that's so important. Getting the crap knocked out you by short old guys. Some of these guys leave here after two days, four days. But Ced's been there for a month. I'm proud of him.

"It's hard. If you want to play in the NFL to be famous, our gym is the wrong place for you," Glazer said. "If you want to push yourself to be the best, that's what we're going to do."

Glazer, Hue Jackson's very definition of a rolling ball of knives at 5-7, 210 pounds, is part of his stable stocked with the toughest former MMA fighters around. The man Ogbuehi is replacing, Andrew Whitworth, has dabbled with Glazer for a decade but is now full-time with his move to the Rams. Glazer proudly popped open his phone to display a recent video of him pushing against the 6-8, 330-pound Whitworth in the finest Greco Roman wrestling tradition and not a cartoon.

Down through the years Glazer has also trained such as stars as Titans running back DeMarco Murray and Jags defensive end Calais Campbell, as well Eagles tight end Zach Ertz and Giants tackle Justin Pugh. Not to mention movie star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

"Ced is incredibly athletic. He just beat one of our receivers in a race. He's ridiculous," Glazer said. "We had to find out what his weaknesses were.

"This (training) is all between the ears and behind the rib cage and it takes time to click in … Last week was a big week for him. You can see it click in. Whit said the same thing … He's showing toughness and fighting back."

MORE AJ: With all coaches and GMs gathered together this week, expect more Andy Dalton-to-the-Browns buzz. It may become rather deafening if Browns head coach Hue Jackson can't pry Jimmy Garoppolo away from Bill Belichick, his opposite number in New England. Of course, with Patriots owner Robert Kraft telling the media here Monday that Tom Brady has told him he's going to play six or seven more years, why wouldn't they move Garoppolo?

It's believed trading a backup quarterback within the AFC North to a coach they greatly regard is rather distasteful to Bengals president Mike Brown. But given Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin's pronouncement earlier this month that the Bengals will listen to anyone, Brown also appears to have a price.

What that is, who knows? There is one trade the Bengals would no doubt pull off with the Browns (and that's big since they've never drafted with their Battle of Ohio rival) and that's swapping their ninth pick in the first round for the Browns' 12th. This is the draft where everyone but No. 1 wants to move back from five on down.

That's how's Pat Kirwan sees it.

"There are about four (elite) players," Kirwan said. "Gil Brandt says 15-45 usually have about the same grade. This year it's more like 10-40. What do you want?"

When the answer is "edge rusher," Kirwan doesn't think the Bengals can miss with Tennessee's Derek Barnett at No. 9:  "Barnett is hard-assed, a hard worker, and plays hard every down."

MORE WALLY: Reports over the weekend had the Bengals agreeing to re-sign defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry to a one-year deal. Even though he'll turn  33 during the season, that's a really good get. It will be recalled that Gilberry's four-year Bengals career ended last April when he signed with the Lions, but he got hurt four games in and the Lions cut him.

He was reunited with defensive coordinator Paul Guenther on Nov. 7, but he got hurt again after playing three games. But when Gilberry returned he had 2.5 sacks in the final two games after he had 3.5 in the pevious two seasons. He can play both end and tackle and when the Bengals played him 28 snaps a game in 2012 and 2013, he had a career-best combined 14 sacks as opposed to  3.5 combined on 47 snaps in 2014 and 2015.

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