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Wednesday notes: Not always pretty; Peanut takes another crack; Hue tired of jokes


Onterio McCalebb is now trying his hand at wide receiver.

Not a good day for the offense and the quarterbacks and a good day for the defense Wednesday in the second day of mandatory minicamp. But don't tell that to Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson.

He's looking to make it tough on the offense with a lot of his calls so that when the time comes, they won't get flustered and make turnovers.

For instance, the offense set up on the 5-yard line and Jackson was guessing with defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. A reminder. In the mandatory minicamp, there is no contact in shorts and helmets. If Guenther ran an all-out blitz leaving man-to-man coverage, a running play would walk in. No blitz and quarterback Andy Dalton would have three for a nickel in the passing game. Jackson guessed blitz and running back Jeremy Hill got wrapped up in a jeering defense.

"Paul guessed right. That's fine," Jackson said.

It seemed Dalton had as many completions as he did incompletions. Wednesday. He threw a particularly bad ball on a fade route in the end zone to wide receiver A.J. Green. The ball never got to the back shoulder and it fluttered so much that even cornerback Brandon Ghee couldn't even catch it.

And there were times Green and Dalton appeared not to be on the same page and there was one play they had to start over when the receivers had to get lined up correctly.

But Dalton also did throw a deep strike to wide receiver Marvin Jones in stride, although there was some debate if Jones was in-bounds. Plus, he and Green hooked up on a couple of nice deep balls. And the big thing Jackson liked about Wednesday is that Dalton didn't turn it over, he got his people in the right place, and he's enthused how Dalton has approached it this season.

"I think our quarterback has done an outstanding job this offseason of taking the group and making them understand what we have to get done," Jackson said. "He is more vocal. He understands what his agenda is now more so than ever. We'll ride with him. I think he's going to lead this team where it has to go."

Other observations Wednesday:

Cincinnati Bengals host mandatory minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium 06/17/2015

-Running back Rex Burkhead knocked knees in the drill where linebackers cover backs and the bruise put him on the sidelines for the last half of practice.

-The first scrum of camp surfaced when tackle Matt O'Donnell got locked up with defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry and he tried to punch his way out and that business was quickly stopped by all parties on both sides of the ball.

-Backup quarterback AJ McCarron had some good throws, like a nice deep ball to rookie tight end C.J. Uzomah in the middle of the field as McCarron rolled against the grain.

He also threw an interception when he seemed to stare rookie safety Derron Smith into the pick with a throw into the teeth of a cover two. The outgoing McCarron, who is having a good camp,  came over to the sidelines and checked with media members to see if Smith was in bounds. He was. He also explained he mistakenly thought Tate had run free of the cornerback.

It left the Bengals very impressed. They think it's the first time this spring they've seen a safety line up on the hash and range to the sidelines to make the pick. And it was a nice break on the ball as Smith added to his reputation of being in the right place at the right time.-The defense had one of these days they were everywhere. Michael Johnson, the 6-7 right end, found himself inexplicably on Burkhead on the perimeter and he knocked away a pass with gusto, proclaiming to Burkhead, "What are you doing out here?"

-Uzomah, the 6-5 fifth-rounder from Auburn who reputedly runs 4.65 seconds in the 40-yard dash, also made another nifty catch when he got behind safety Shawn Williams in a one-on-one drill.

-Bengals all-time leading passer Ken Anderson stopped by to see two quarterbacks he worked with when they came out for the draft. McCarron and Terrelle Pryor. Bengals radio voice Dan Hoard also snapped a photo with his partner, Dave Lapham, Anderson's road roommate from the '70s.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Jackson on the pain of last season's one-and-done: "Last season cut me up, I promise you that. And I think it's cut  a lot of people at the core because were tired. I'm tired of being the brunt of jokes. I'm tired of our organization being the brunt of jokes. I don't want to be the laughing stock of anything…and neither do the players on our offense...You have to take a stand." PEANUT GETS ANOTHER CRACK:

For three springs now Onterio McCalebb has kidded Bengals wide receivers coach James Urban about giving him the ball. On Tuesday Urban called his bluff and on Wednesday, after two NFL seasons as a cornerback, McCalebb finished his second day as an NFL wide receiver in the Bengals mandatory minicamp.

"Here's the mindset," Urban said after practice. "Great kid. We love working with him. He's got dynamic speed and he did some great things with the ball in his hands in college. Let's give him a shot with the ball in his hands. And he's been great. Really engaged."

The 5-10, 175-pound McCalebb, the man his teammates call "Peanut," has spent his two seasons on the practice squad trying to convert to cornerback from running back, after he finished 10th on the all-time rushing list at Auburn during the 2012 season. The Bengals signed him after the draft in large part because of his speed, 4.34 seconds in the 40-yard dash, tied for best at the 2013 NFL scouting combine. He's played in just one NFL game as a special teamer, but he hasn't given special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons enough confidence to return punt or kicks yet. But he's always looking for cover players.

"The transition to corner maybe was not as smooth as we had hoped, but he's a great kid who can run and it's obvious he's natural with the ball in his hands since he's played offense his whole life," Urban said. "Let's see what he does at training camp when everybody is starting from square one."

McCalebb is staring at another year on the practice squad, but least he'll be doing some of what he did in college, which is make 62 catches for 620 yards and three touchdowns during his career. At this point, McCalebb barely knows the playbook and is hardly working in team drills. When he's going seven-on-seven or one-on-one, Urban tells him what to do. If McCalebb can catch up to him. He's been telling Urban, "I'm trying to stay in your hip pocket. You move around too much."

Urban tells him, "I'm working." But he can tell McCalebb is studying the playbook.

"And when I know he knows a play, I'll put him in team," Urban says.

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