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Quick Hits: Bengals Defense Experimenting With Pressure Looks; A Sample Of Anarumo's Menu

Cam Sample on the move.
Cam Sample on the move.

Before Tuesday's practice, defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, who has clearly invested in the offseason scheming different ways to get to the quarterback and has spent training camp trying to keep them under wraps, tried to illustrate how little of his playbook he's showing in the preseason games.

The Staten Island native went to his favorite diner's menu.

"There's pages and pages, right? And then they hand the little kids menu to the kids. We're a little on the kids menu side," said Anarumo after a game his looks netted four sacks. "The emphasis is for the guys to execute our base defense, run, get off blocks and tackle and do it fast. And that's what I want them to do. We have a few things in for each game, game plan specific, but not nearly on the level that we'll have for a normal game."

Rookie edger Joseph Ossai's half a sack with opposite edger Trey Hendrickson opened a window into the way Anarumo wants to take offenses by surprise by putting versatile guys in different places. On third-and-10, he kicked ends Sam Hubbard and rookie Cam Sample inside as Ossai's rip-and-under inside move on right tackle Tristan Wirfs timed up with Hendrickson's outside move past left tackle Donovan Smith.

"We are still feeling all that out. Put guys in different spots. This is the time to do it," Anarumo said. "You didn't have this last year. We are kind of feeling this guy might be better here or there. We are going to keep moving guys around all preseason just to see what they are best at."

Sample had an interesting night doing that. When he was lined up inside at tackle later in the first half, his stunt with edger Darius Hodge netted Hodge a sack. On the last snap of the game, Sample got a sack coming off the edge. Anarumo likes his comfort level in both spots. And, they both appreciated a rookie moment.

"So far so good. We will keep force-feeding him and see how he does with it," Anarumo said. "He played solid. For a young guy in his first game a lot of things he needs to improve on. He showed some edge pressure.

"His first snap probably didn't go the way he wanted it to against their ones. He got better as the game went along. He had his hand in his dirt and looked up and there was the greatest quarterback to ever play our game across from him, so he told me that was a little moment for him, is what he said."

Anarumo praised the physicality of the Bengals offense, something that wasn't in full flower last year.

"The best defense is sitting on the bench, you know?" Anarumo said. "The run game and being physical, that's huge. I know Zac (Taylor). We're all preaching the same thing, so it's great."

COVER BAND: How good are the Bengals new cornerbacks playing? Chidobe Awuzie, who has been all over the place in practice, didn't let old Bengals killer Antonio Brown out of his sights on a go route on Saturday's first series in Tampa. Meanwhile, Trae Waynes quietly and reliably locked up Mike Evans on the other side. And that's what Anarumo is looking for Waynes in his comeback from chest injury that wiped out his entire 2020.

"Go out there and be the same guy every day. Be consistent. We don't have the big ups and downs. I think we've got two guys that can do that with Cheeto," Anarumo said, "who I think has had an outstanding camp. That was Antonio Brown running down the sideline, one of the more dangerous guys that you'll face. And he handled that well. I'm pleased with both of them and I think Trae will be right in line with what we had from a scheme standpoint last year. "

Waynes looks to be suffering no ill effects after missing an entire season. But before Tuesday's practice he admitted it's a process.

"Getting my feet back under me being out for a year and half not really being able to do much it was kind of tough," Waynes said. "Just finally getting comfortable again and being able to play the game."

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