Pregame notes: Kubiak looking at Cincy combo; Joseph salutes Coyle; Atkins pushed for game MVP


Andy Dalton

WEST OAHU, Hawaii — Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, who bested the Bengals in the playoffs three weeks ago, is hoping they give him an edge coaching the AFC in Sunday's Pro Bowl.

Expect Kubiak to match up Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton with his two leading receivers from this past season. Dalton hooked up for a total of 12 touchdowns with wide receiver A.J. Green and tight end Jermaine Gresham and Kubiak said Saturday that Dalton could appear as early as the second quarter.

"No doubt about it we'll try to do that," Kubiak said of the Cincy trio. "(Dalton) is either going to go the second or the third. He's been great. Just the way he studies, getting ready to play, and giving us his stuff he feels good about going into the game. A lot of the easy parts of football are the same."

And Kubiak indicated it's going to be simple. "We've got so many guys from so many teams, we're just trying to get them going the right way," he said.

Kubiak can also take advantage of the Steelers 1-2  combination. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, expected to start, has wide receivers Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown at his disposal.

J-JOE SALTUES COYLE: AFC cornerback Johnathan Joseph may be lining up as a Texan on Sunday, but he says he wouldn't be there without the Bengals connection. Count him among the many that are delighted long-time Cincinnati secondary coach Kevin Coyle is getting his shot as an NFL defensive coordinator in Miami.

All Joseph has to do is go back to Draft Day in 2006 and he's heard the stories of the Bengals mulling the 24th pick in the first round and wondered about Joseph's lack of Division I experience during a brief career at South Carolina.

"A lot of people in the building were undecided about me. He stood on the table for me. He went to bat for me and I can't ever thank him enough for that," Joseph said Saturday. "I'm excited for him to get this opportunity. I know his name got called last year (by the Eagles) and I'm glad his name still carried weight. People around the league value him as a guy that gets the most out of his players."

When Joseph heard on Thursday that Coyle had accepted the job with the Dolphins, he texted him with, "Time to earn the big bucks." Which is funny, because that's exactly what Coyle texted Joseph back in July when he signed with the Texans.

"First and foremost, he cares about you as a person even before as a football player," Joseph said. "I think he can get the most out of you because his approach is he wants you to be at your best every day. He would go over and above ways to make you better. He critiqued you as hard as anyone I've seen from the small things to the biggest things. After a while you're thinking, 'This guy is busting chops all the time.' But once you see the results … "

Joseph is appreciative of the technique the Bengals staff hammered into him to capture those teeming physical gifts. Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, another guy that started out in the NFL as a secondary coach, brought the same type of discipline Coyle used with the previous coordinators Leslie Frazier and Chuck Bresnahan under head coach Marvin Lewis.

When it came to technique, Coyle never let up on Joseph, even as he went out the door. One of those farewell texts read, "Remember to stay square at the line of scrimmage on the press."

"With the help of Mike Zimmer and with Marvin I was able to mature as a player," Joseph said. "(Coyle) has already been around as a coordinator in college and he's seen it from all sides in the NFL with Leslie and Bresnahan. He's ready."

The Bengals are faced with some decisions in the secondary in the wake of Coyle's departure. His assistant, Paul Guenther, is expected to be named the linebackers coach replacing Jeff FitzGerald and it's believed the Bengals will take this upcoming week to put it together.

SLANTS AND SCREENS

» Counting Joseph, Green, Gresham and 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith, there are four Bengals first-round players on display. But there are five working the game.

The fifth?

Texans defensive line coach Bill Kollar, a defensive tackle out of Montana State picked in 1974.

Kollar played just three seasons in Cincinnati before he ended up in Tampa. A foot problem cut short his time with the Bengals; an injury that today he says would have been easily diagnosed as a stress fracture, but there were no MRIs.

Yet he has made an impact as a highly-regarded position coach and is happy to be working with Bengals tackle Geno Atkins. Although there's not exactly a lot of drills going on. The biggest practice activity for the AFC line this week seemed to be Kollar playing catch with them.

"He can catch it. He has a little trouble throwing," joked Kollar, who took note of Atkins at the 2010 Senior Bowl.

"He turned out to be a heck of a pick for you guys. It's always the same thing when you're his size playing inside. Everybody's worried he's not big enough. He can't do this, he can't do that," Kollar said. "But if you saw him in the Senior Bowl in the one-on-one drills, boy, he did a heck of a job.

"We thought highly of him in the draft. You sort of like guys like that. They're all business. They're out there to play and that's what the guy does. He'll end up being a heck of a player for you guys."

» Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour, named to his seventh Pro Bowl at age 32, also has his eyes on the 23-year-old Atkins. Seymour isn't exactly looking to get a ton of snaps.

"I already told him," Seymour said, "I'm going to do whatever I can to make sure he wins MVP."

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