Updated: 9:25 p.m.
Cornerback Curtis Marsh wasn't exactly a stranger when he showed up to work out for the Bengals on Wednesday since he played for the coaching staff when they coached the North in the 2011 Senior Bowl. When he says he ran a 4.34-seond 40-yard dash, the Bengals were reintroduced to the reasons they were intrigued with the 6-1, 197-pounder during that draft.
"I'm extremely confident in my speed. I think my speed is one of my strengths," Marsh said before Thursday's practice. "I prefer to bump and run if I can. I love playing man because it's a challenge. In college, that's what I was known for. The challenge I look forward to is guarding receivers one-on-one in press coverage."
He sounds like defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer's kind of corner. Fast. Rangy. Although the secondary coach that worked with Marsh in Mobile, Ala., Kevin Coyle, is now the defensive coordinator for the Dolphins, his assistant then, Paul Guenther, is the linebackers coach. Marsh says he feels comfortable in his first 24 hours here because he knows the equipment and training staff, as well as Zimmer and special teams coach Darrin Simmons, from the all-star game. He played on all four teams before he broke his hand in a preseason game against the Panthers jamming at the line on a punt. He doesn't need a cast, but is wearing a glove with a small pad on top.
"As simple as the scheme was in the Senior Bowl," Marsh said of the defense, "it was concise and I felt we were able to execute it."
What Marsh will be able to execute on Sunday with three practices in the system is another question. But one thing he does know: he'll be doing laundry.
"I brought clothes for two days," he said.
What Marsh is lacking in threads he's clearly not lacking in confidence. He's pretty sure why the Eagles let him go.
"You've got a new coach coming in there. A new coaching staff. They want their guys. So they're going to be harder on the guys that were there in the old regime. I understand that. It's a business. It's the way it is," Marsh said. "I personally don't think it had anything to do with me not being as good a football player as any corner on that team. I'm extremely confident in my abilities. I believe I can play for any team. I'm extremely thankful the Cincinnati Bengals have given me this opportunity and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I'm really thankful for the opportunity to come in here and show what I can do."
One of the three corners who were out when Marsh arrived Wednesday, third corner Adam Jones (abdomen) returned to practice Thursday. But Dre Kirkpatrick (hamstring) and Brandon Ghee (concussion) didn't. Also out again were safety Jeromy Miles (hamstring) and backup guard-center Mike Pollak (knee). Wide receiver Marvin Jones (foot) and tackle Anthony Collins (knee) sat out after being limited Wednesday.
NEXT UP: There's a lot of speculation about who is going to take injured backup Robert Geathers's snaps at left end. One obvious answer is SAM backer James Harrison, who played pretty much as an end rushing the passer in the Steelers 3-4 for a decade. He usually doesn't play backer in the nickel, so he'd be available. Most of his rushes have come on blitzes out of the base defense.
Zimmer indicated rookie left end Margus Hunt may get some game action now, but an intriguing possibility is second-year tackle Devon Still. Still worked a lot at end as a rookie and while he says he hasn't worked much there this year, he thinks he can do it because he understands the responsibilities.
When the Bengals were down to two ends Monday night after Geathers got hurt and right end Michael Johnson got evaluated for a concussion, Still said the coaches talked about putting him there before deciding to keep him inside and stay with Carlos Dunlap at left end and Wallace Gilberry at right end.
SCHAFFER AGAIN: Another day, another J.K. Schaffer transaction. On Thursday the Bengals re-signed the University of Cincinnati linebacker to the practice squad a day after they released him and three days after they activated him for Monday night's game.