Bobbie Williams (left) works with fellow lineman Matthew O'Donnell on the first day of Bengals training camp.
GEORGETOWN, Ky – A few quick hitters after the Bengals' first practice of the season, which was interrupted by the news they had agreed to terms with former Bills and Niners cornerback Nate Clements to replace Johnathan Joseph after a big-time recruiting effort by head coach Marvin Lewis and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer:
» Lewis agreed Clements is Zimmer's kind of corner. Smart, tough and "a great cover player."
"Everyone always talks about his professionalism and his preparation," Lewis said. "And you watch him play and you see how smart of a player he is."
» Lewis raised a few eyebrows when he said that Clements was looking to get into a situation where he wanted to be a piece where he could "push it over the top," instead of going to a team rebuilding. When told some think the Bengals are rebuilding, Lewis said, "I don't know. I think some would say we've changed for the positive. I said it in December it would be a new beginning. If things worked out and I were back here that I was going to do something that not many people get to do and start fresh again."
» Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden unveiled his new West Coast playbook and admitted the first practice wasn't exactly rocket science.
"This was like freshman P.E. in your first class of high school," he said. "You've still got a long way to go. High school, college and med school before you graduate. We have a very long way to get to where we want."
But he was quite pleased with how rookie quarterback Andy Dalton ran the show and threw the ball while thoroughly enjoying watching first-round pick A.J. Green catch it.
"I like watching those big tall guys run with it," Gruden said. "Overall, for (Dalton's) first time in a professional uniform with different receivers he's never thrown to and a different tempo, new plays, it was impressive I thought.
"He spit out all the plays correctly. He didn't have any trouble in the huddle. No panicking, broke the huddle. That's a feat in itself with all new terminology and looking at veteran guys like Whitworth and Bernard Scott and there was no issue with him. He was calm, confident. He missed a few throws but for the most part he ran the show."
» In one 11 on 11 session Dalton hit his first seven throws and was eight-of-10, four going to three different tight ends off play-action in an array of short and intermediate throws.
"I'm trying to show everybody I've got confidence," Dalton said. "It's how it was scripted. Run the ball well, trying to get the ball out of our hands quick, and trying to get the ball to our guys. I think that's how our offense is going to be. We've got so many great playmakers. We're just going to spread the ball around."
» Talks with free-agent running back Cedric Benson are going slowly. Clearly he has a number that does not match what the Bengals have in mind (no doubt DeAngelo Williams' deal is giving him ideas), but Lewis said the Bengals will keep trying. He also said they're talking to other backs and at some point will have to make a call.