Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 5/25/12
The Cincinnati Bengals currently have six cornerbacks on their roster who were first-round selections. There's a good chance that at least one of them will not be on the roster when the season starts at Baltimore on Sept. 10. Last year the Bengals had four first-rounders, but they struggled over the second half of the season when Leon Hall went down with a season-ending Achilles injury. During the offseason they added more experience with Jason Allen and Terence Newman along with drafting Dre Kirkpatrick. The only one not back is Kelly Jennings, who was acquired from Seattle last year but was more of a nickel corner. As Newman noted though, there is a difference between being a first-round pick and then living up to it. "Just because of the first-round thing, it doesn't mean anything. You have to play football and make plays," Newman said. "That's probably the most important thing. It sounds good. It looks good on paper, but at the same time until you go out and make plays and contribute and help the team win games, that's just what it is." The Bengals kept only four cornerbacks on the roster last season but in past years it has been five. Considering that Brandon Ghee and rookie Shaun Prater are also on the roster, that means a couple of the veterans are on the roster who could be on the bubble. The two that come to mind immediately are Newman and Adam Jones, who are both on one-year deals. Newman, who signed with the Bengals after nine seasons in Dallas, is reunited with defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer who was his coach his first four years in Dallas. Newman said it was the prospect of being back with Zimmer that intrigued him the most about coming here. When asked if he has noticed anything different with Zimmer from his time in Dallas, Newman joked that the only one is "he's getting uglier." "What's good is that he's understanding," Newman said. "Some of us are new and we need a little more talking to just to understand some of the things that are going on and he spent a good amount of time trying to help us out. There are subtle differences (in the scheme), but it's pretty much the same." For Jones, this is the best he has felt since signing here the day before the start of OTAs two years ago. Back then, Jones was just trying to work himself back into shape while learning the defense. Last year, Jones missed training camp and the first six games due to a neck injury and then was hampered with groin and hamstring injuries when he returned. Jones right now is playing at 187 pounds and says this is the most comfortable he has been with the defense which has allowed him to play faster. "I have a lot of work to do especially technique wise. When I get tired sometimes I slack on my technique," Jones said. "If you want to be a good player or a great player in this league you can't just rely on talent. In the past I have done that. "Now I'm just getting better every day, staying in my playbook, trying to understand what the offense is trying to do against different defensive calls." Besides playing for a spot at corner, Jones said he is ready to compete for the punt-return spot that went to Brandon Tate last year. Jones had a 55-yard punt return at Seattle, which was his first game back, but pulled up when he tweaked his hamstring and didn't have a return the rest of the year. Allen, who was with the Texans last season, is still adjusting to the playbook and trying to work some of the offseason rust off. When asked what his expectations and role was going to be this season, the only one Allen had was for the team to win. "It is a different scheme in some of things we are doing," Allen said. "You try to take the coaching in as much as possible and try to get better during the OTAs. It's just part of the game. Coaches like different techniques and you find out what they are and learn them." A lot about who stays will depend on if Hall is ready for the start of the season 10 months after his Achilles injury. There remains a possibility that he could start the season on the PUP list. Jones, Newman and Allen should get plenty of playing time early in OTAs. Kirkpatrick missed the first week due to a groin strain while Nate Clements might miss the first two weeks due to an abdominal strain. NOTES, QUOTES Defending Dalton becomes the story --Greg Cosell of NFL Films raised some eyebrows recently when he said that there were some in the Bengals organization who still had concerns about Andy Dalton's arm strength. If someone does, offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has not heard it. "I don't know where that came from and why he (Cosell) said it. If there were reservations about Andy Dalton there would be a lot more quarterbacks here right now," Gruden said. "We know and he knows he has to get better and he is champing at the bit to get going. I have no reservations about his arm strength. I think he can do it all. He might not run 4.3 in the 40 or be 6-6 but to play the position and what we need to do he can do everything we want." Dalton also said though that he has no qualms about his arm strength. "I'm comfortable with it. Everyone knows what they are going to get out of me," he said. "I don't think it held us back last year and I don't think it is going to hold me back in my career. Arm strength is one thing, there's a lot to throwing. It's timing, consistency and making sure everyone is on the same page. I'm going to keep working but I don't think arm strength is an issue." --Linebacker Dontay Moch said that he has not received a letter from the league informing him that he has been suspended for four games for using a banned substance. NFL Network reported that the matter is under appeal, which means that a ruling could come in the next month. If Moch's suspension is upheld it will mark the third straight year that a Bengals player has received a drug-related suspension joining defensive end Antwan Odom and offensive guard Bobbie Williams. Moch did not play in any games last year due to a broken foot and later migraines. --Jones had fond memories of his former college coach, Bill Stewart, who died of a heart attack at the age of 59. Stewart, who was the special teams coach when Jones was at West Virginia, was the head coach for three seasons. "The whole state of West Virginia is going to miss him," Jones said. "He taught me a lot coming in from an inner-city school, you get a couple punts, but not like college. Stew was always there for me. He was my dude. The last time I talked to him was in January. He always stayed up with me. When I had my hard times he called me. Him and his wife, they're very good people." --Brandon Tate lined up opposite A.J. Green at the other receiver spot during the first OTA. Coach Marvin Lewis said that if the season started tomorrow, either Tate or Armon Binns would be the starter, mainly because of their experience on offense. Tate looked solid in running routes, but will face competition from Binns, Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones. Said Dalton of Tate: "I'm excited about him. He's done a good job. You can tell he's put in the work this offseason. He's running around well, and right now it's just getting everybody on the same page." STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL The roster is up to 87 after the Bengals claimed offensive guard Matt Murphy on waivers from the Colts and signed center Reggie Stephens, who was drafted by the Bengals in the seventh round in 2010 but was released last year. Seven of the 10 draft picks are signed with first-round offensive guard Kevin Zeitler and third-round selections wide receiver Mohamed Sanu and defensive tackle Brandon Thompson yet to agree. MEDICAL WATCH --WR Jordan Shipley (knee) has been gradually cleared by the team to resume football activities. --LB Roddrick Muckelroy, who tore his Achilles on the opening day of training camp last year, was doing football drills.
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