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Bengals postcard (cont.)

Posted: Monday July 30, 2007 7:47PM; Updated: Tuesday July 31, 2007 11:42AM
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Did You Know?

Rookie cornerback Leon Hall (Michigan) has already displayed the vit, vigor, talent and composure of an experienced NFL veteran.
Rookie cornerback Leon Hall (Michigan) has already displayed the vit, vigor, talent and composure of an experienced NFL veteran.

Palmer and four of his receivers spent two weeks in July working out together at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Palmer invited all his receivers to come to Southern California for some pre-camp polishing, and they are all raving about starting camp in late-August form, instead of mid-July form.

Insider Fantasy Tip

Heading into your draft, you're going to be asking: "Who's going to replace Henry as Palmer's deep threat this season?" While the Bengals definitely have not made up their minds, one guy you should watch in preseason games is former LSU track man Bennie Brazell. Unlike many sprinters trying to make a mark in football, Brazell has above-average hands and has shown the ability to take a hit and come back for more. He would do wonders as a much-needed burst of speed, and Palmer would love to fit that kind of guy into the receiving rotation.

On the Menu

The Bengals are one of few teams that don't allow the media to eat at their training table. That's perfectly fine. It gave me the chance to grade the cheeseburger at Dairy Queen in Georgetown on Monday. A dry patty, too much mustard, a thin tomato slice and a piece of cheese only about half-melted. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play? Grade: D.

Camp Confidential

I caught a lot of flak in Monday Morning Quarterback a couple of weeks ago for making the Bengals a middle-of-the-pack team in my preseason NFL ratings. I doubt I'm going to change my mind after seeing them in person. I think the offense will be explosive because Palmer will be Palmer and, obviously, he's got plenty of weapons. But I just don't see a defense that is markedly better in any area than the unit that let them down so much last year.

I think acquiring an impact player in free agency or trade (someone like Joey Porter, for instance) would have been a huge lift to this team, but there was appreciable help forthcoming in free agency. Leon Hall will help a cornerback-needy secondary, but the front seven needed an infusion of talent and fire. And it never came. Without that addition, I think the Bengals are a lot closer to 8-8 than to 12-4.

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