First impressions

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on May 11, 2010 – 4:54 pm

A few observations after Tuesday’s first on-field practice session of the season:

» Chad Ochocinco dropped a hint the Bengals are going to bring in former Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Not so fast, OCNN. Here is what happened from what can be pieced together.

The Bengals have apparently called old friend Hue Jackson to ask about Russell. It is believed that Jackson, the Raiders offensive coordinator and former Bengals receivers coach, didn’t kill him and talked positively about him. But apparently Russell isn’t ready to make a move yet and the Bengals just called his people to see what he’s thinking. The club isn’t sure there is a fit and right now just seems to be kicking tires.

But stay tuned. Marvin Lewis said earlier in the day they are not done tinkering with the roster.   

» The early surprise is looking to be wide receiver Matt Jones, the Jaguars’ former No. 1 pick. He sped past a heck of a cornerback in Leon Hall twice, once for a catch. Carson Palmer said it Monday, “He’s always a mismatch” because of his height and speed, and another offensive player said, “Matt Jones is a beast.”

» The much-maligned Jerome Simpson had a very nice day. The third-year wide receiver also caught a long ball, leaping between two defenders to pull it in. He looked quick, spry and sure-handed but the challenge for him is to keep that consistency every time out. And he’s got a lot of guys in front of him.

» Safety Gibril Wilson showed up with the seasoned sureness of an 84-game NFL veteran. You can tell he’s energized being back at strong safety. It looks like he can run and flashed some pretty good hands in the drills.

» It looked like cornerback Adam Jones still has some quicks. He can really break on the ball. After one play Marvin Lewis reminded him to keep his shoulders square, which is going to be the challenge. How long is it going to take him to knock off the rust for a guy who hasn’t relied much on technique in the past? But there is no missing those physical skills.

» Antonio Bryant is a physical guy. He’s a horse when he gets position on you. Maybe I’m nuts, but the difference between him and Laveranues Coles this time last year is stark.  Bryant played both the slot and outside Tuesday (as did Andre Caldwell) and while he had some snafus, it was also pretty clear he was picking it up. In fact,offensive coordianator Bob Bratkowski said he have him a lot on purpose and was impressed with how he responded.

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