John Abraham, Kelvin Benjamin, Giovani Bernard
The Cincinnati Bengals have a new offensive coordinator, and, apparently, a new offensive philosophy.
“The mentality of the offense has changed,” running back Giovani Bernard told ESPN.com.
Changed, as in the Bengals are going to more of an up-tempo approach.
That is what new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, who was promoted to that job after Jay Gruden left the Bengals to become head coach of the Washington Redskins, has been installing during offseason workouts.
“You make it to where (members of the opposing defense) have to work and operate quicker and don’t have as much time to line up and dissect and all those types of things,” offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth said. “(Offensively), when you get hot a lot of time in that kind of situation, you get real hot. Working with a tempo is a great way to be able to play. Now you have to have players who are in condition to do that and that’s a total different thing.
“I can remember back in ’06, ’07 when we did no-huddle some … playing at that kind of tempo, it was always an adjustment to get used to being in that kind of shape.”
PANTHERS’ GM COMPARES KELVIN BENJAMIN TO PLAXICO BURRESS
Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman spent 15 seasons in the player-personnel department of the New York Giants.
He knows a thing or two about former Giants standout wide receiver Plaxico Burress.
So when he compares Kelvin Benjamin, the Panthers’ first-round choice in the NFL Draft earlier this month, to Burress, it is worth noting.
“When I watched him, I thought I was watching a young Plaxico,” Gettleman told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “He’s a better athlete than people realize, he plays faster than a lot people think and he made some ‘OMG’ catches in the rookie minicamp. He’s talented, he has good focus, he learns well and it’s important to him. It’s really important to him.”
TONY ROMO SAYS HE EXPECTS TO RETURN TO FULL STRENGTH WITHIN A MONTH
Since undergoing back surgery last December, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo hasn’t been able to take part in offseason workouts. But he says he is much closer to doing so and expects to be on the field within “the next month.”
“Hopefully it’s in the next week or two, which is a viable and serious time that it actually could happen in,” Romo told 105.3 FM in Dallas-Fort Worth. “You know, it could be another two or three weeks. We’ll see here. We’ll be smart in OTAs, but at the same point, we’ve got to get to work.”
For Romo, there are plenty of opportunities to do so before training camp begins this summer. The Cowboys have three OTA sessions scheduled for next week and several more throughout June.
But Romo, 34, isn’t just focused on making it through non-contact drills.
“There’s no question in my mind: not only am I going to be able to make it through 16 games, I’ll make it through another five years,” he said.
MARSHAWN LYNCH GETS A SHOUT-OUT FROM THE PRESIDENT
Although Marshawn Lynch didn’t accompany the Seattle Seahawks on their visit to the White House as defending Super Bowl champions, the running back received an acknowledgement from President Obama.
And the reason had as much to do with Lynch’s concerted effort to distance himself from the media, which included his barely answering questions from mobs of reporters at the Super Bowl.
“He’s not here today, but we’ve got to give props to ‘Beast Mode,’ Marshawn Lynch,” Obama said. “I am sorry that Marshawn’s not here because I just want to say how much I admire his approach to the press. I want to get some tips from him.”
JOHN ABRAHAM SHOOTS FOR 20 SACKS THIS SEASON
John Abraham is 36 years old and hasn’t had more than 16.5 sacks in a season (his total in 2008), yet the Arizona Cardinals’ outside linebacker has set a lofty goal for himself this year: a 20-sack campaign.
It seems as if it might be a long-shot, but consider this: Abraham did go on an eight-game tear during the middle of last season when he registered all of his 11.5 sacks for the year. It was a pace that would have resulted in 23 sacks in 16 games – or a half more than then-30-year-old Michael Strahan had to set the NFL record.
“I’m shooting for at least 20; I always shoot high,” Abraham told ArizonaSports.com. “Shoot high, you might hit low, but at least you shoot high. Don’t bowl, you’ve got to shoot a basket. Shoot high, don’t bowl.”
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