Posted: 11:20 p.m.
Tank Johnson, the new Bengals defensive tackle, is known for his pass-rush skills from the inside with a quick and big first step.
But his approach is even simpler than that.
"To get the pass rush you have to stop the run; you stop the run and you can pass rush," Johnson said this week. "On first and second down you have to play the percentages and that's team by team. Some teams pass on first down, so you adjust but most of the time you go with the percentages and play the run."
Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer noticed on Tuesday that Johnson has brought his first step with him from Chicago and Dallas. But Johnson is easing himself in.
"Right now I'm just learning the defense. I'm not so much worried about what I look like. I know the coaches know pretty much I can play," Johnson said. "I want to learn the defense so I don't have to think at all. Like right now, I know the defense but I don't know what we call things. As every day goes by I learn a little more and play a little bit faster."
MORE CED: One of the 32 reasons Carson Palmer can't wait to play with running back Cedric Benson is what he does in the passing game. Specifically the screen pass. Until he watched some video the other day, Palmer didn't realize the damage Benson did with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. One was the Bengals' longest play in three years, the 79-yarder against Washington.
"I love seeing that; those are easy yards," Palmer said. "They keep you on the field, they tick the defense off. With his speed it's hard to stop. Combine that with the way he finishes runs. He puts his shoulder down on DBs and makes safeties a little hesitant about coming to tackle him. It adds a presence and physicality to the game you love seeing as a quarterback."
PACE OF PLAY: One of the underlying themes of Marvin Lewis' spring camps is keeping it real. Last week when Lewis opened the on-field workouts, he told his team the plan was to get to the gate healthy.
It's been an elusive goal the last two years, both riddled by injuries. But Lewis showed he meant business when he gave them off Wednesday in the middle of a Tuesday-Thursday session. He plans to do more of the same next month.
Palmer applauded the move and openly reminded himself to talk to Benson about taking it down a notch once in awhile in the spring so he isn't gassed for the season.
"He's got a great point there," Benson said. "I know I don't need to be going as crazy as I have been.
"We work at a very high pace here. It's like a regular practice. We're not slowing down. At the same time it's important to be aware this is not the season. You're preparing for the season both on and off the field and in and out of the locker room."