The Cincinnati Bengals had a rather quiet offseason—until recently. Over the past week, the Bengals have been involved in a flurry of media-related activity.
Some of the news involving Cincinnati has been on the positive front—but not all of it.
The Bengals have caught headlines for quite a few reasons lately, whether they have been related to issues on or off the field. With a very crucial 2013 season ahead, they cannot afford a great deal of distractions before training camp begins.
Let's take a look at some of the recent activity revolving around Cincinnati and its players.
Cornerback Adam Jones was arrested on June 5 for allegedly striking a woman in a Cincinnati downtown bar. Jones has pled his case through his agent, Peter Schaffer, who had this to say about Jones' involvement in the incident (via Cincinnati Enquirer).
The last thing he wants is a picture with two women showing up on Twitter or Facebook or some other form of social media. Given what Adam has been through with the legal process, he has been incredibly positive and believes he will be vindicated.
The picture that Schaffer is referring to is one that Jones said the two women asked to take with him. He refused because they looked intoxicated. This lead one of them to pour her drink on Jones, causing him to retaliate.
There still has not been a court decision as to who was at fault, but Jones believes he is innocent.
Newly re-signed Bengals right tackle Andre Smith missed all three days of mandatory minicamp this past week.
After missing voluntary workouts at OTAs, this does not appear to be a fresh start for Smith.
Over his tenure in the NFL, Smith has brought contract issues, injury concerns and conditioning problems with him to Cincinnati.
Head coach Marvin Lewis expected Smith to report to minicamp while OTAs were ongoing, but changed his tune during the start of minicamp. Lewis had this to say about Smith's absence according to NFL.com.
Andre won't be here for the three days. He is dealing with something he has to get through. We hoped he'd be here, but he has some personal things he's dealing with.
That's as vague as Lewis has ever been—especially for a coach that does not necessarily enjoy talking to media.
It leaves only speculation as to what is really going on with Smith.
All that is known at the moment is that he will lose approximately $170,000 due to his absence. This is money that would have been awarded to Smith for attending the mandatory minicamp.
An H-back is a hybrid between a tight end and a fullback. This player lines up at the tight end position, but also splits time as the up-back in the backfield.
Charles did play H-back while at Georgia and is one of the best pound-for-pound blockers on the team.
This move will add versatility to the Bengals offense. Quarterback Andy Dalton will have another target out of the backfield, and the position move could allow Charles, Gresham and Eifert to all be on the field at once.
This seems to be a brilliant move by the Bengals coaching staff.
It appears that the defensive mind of Mike Zimmer is hard at work when it comes to linebacker James Harrison.
According to USA Today, Harrison is expected to be used as a pass-rush specialist, as well as against the run.
It appears that in his transition to SAM linebacker in a 4-3 defense, Zimmer feels that these are the best situations for the veteran. Harrison will be used less in coverage and more on the line of scrimmage and for quarterback pressures.
Harrison spoke about his new duties to Joe Reedy of USA Today.
I think it will help. Zim has some defenses drawn up, schemes that actually benefit if they do call to me and if they don't call to me. Especially with Geno and everybody else having an extremely good time rushing, it's going to be different. Let the guys who were here continue to do the outside rushing that they were doing.
I'm playing SAM, so I'm basically doing the same thing I do in a 3-4 defense. It's just that I'll switch where I'm lining up. I'll be...stacked behind a tackle or guard or whatever it may be. And I'll do my job from there.
It seems as though Harrison is getting rather comfortable in his new defensive system.
The Bengals will be featured on HBO's "Hard Knocks" for the second time in five years.
The 2009 team featuring diva receiver Chad Johnson was the last to participate in the series. The Bengals rallied that season and swept the division for the first time in club history on their way to a 10-6 record and the AFC North crown.
This year, it is a much different story.
It may not be as much of a spectacle as the 2009 season, but it should be filled with some great football as this young team shows the nation that it is ready to compete.
The bright lights of the cameras and national audience surrounding the team could very well be a good thing for this club. They have the maturity to handle the cameras being around and it could very well help end their woes in the prime-time games.
Marvin Lewis seemed rather happy about the new installment of the television series in a recent interview on Bengals.com.
The feedback we got from our experience with Hard Knocks in 2009 was outstanding. Our fans enjoyed it tremendously and we're happy to try and provide that same experience again. Our fans love the NFL and they enjoy seeing things they don't normally get to see. We have some outstanding men, both as players and as people. They've got great charisma to go along with their football skills, and the Hard Knocks treatment allows for both to shine through.
It appears that Lewis is rather comfortable with the decision. The team will not be able to pass its success or failure off on the show's presence at training camp. We will all just have to wait for the outcome.