CBSSports.com Senior Writer

Bengals: Love and hate

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Bengals: Camp tour | Rapid Reports | Bleacher Report

GEORGETOWN, Ky. -- Observations from Cincinnati Bengals camp:

Love

  The receivers. With Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, Antonio Bryant, Andre Caldwell and rookie Jordan Shipley, the Bengals have an impressive five. That's not even counting first-round pick Jermaine Gresham, a tight end from Oklahoma. The Bengals will be fun to watch if they throw it more.

  The depth on the defensive line. They have eight capable players, including a healthy Antwan Odom. He was leading the NFL in sacks before tearing his Achilles' tendon last season. He's healthy again, working in full, and should be the starting right end. But there are a lot of bodies around him. Keep an eye on rookie defensive tackle Geno Atkins. The coaches love him.

  The corners. They already had one of the best young starting duos in Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall. Both are improving players on the verge of Pro Bowl seasons. Hall, in fact, should have been there last season. But the addition of Adam "Pacman" Jones will really help this team. He will be the third corner in passing situations, giving the Bengals three quality cover players.

  Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. He's one of the best in football. It's time somebody gives him a chance as a head coach. After this season, they just might.

  Quarterback Carson Palmer. Some see him as a fallen franchise passer. I don't buy it. He still has the tools to be a top-tier passer. They Bengals need to set him free.

  Bernard Scott. He is listed as the backup to Cedric Benson, but Scott needs to get more touches. He has the big-play speed that Benson does not. He's also a great kick-return man.

Hate

  The emphasis on the run. That helped them improve last season, but it took some Palmer heroics to win too many games. Why not let him throw early, then run it late? Marvin Lewis believes in the run, but the pass has to be better in 2010.

  Starting safety Roy Williams isn't one of my favorite players. I don't think he covers well enough for the modern game. He's a big hitter, not a good cover player. Gibril Wilson, who flopped in Miami last year, could see time behind Williams.

  Andre Smith's body. The second-year tackle, who is expected to start on the right side of the offensive line, is limited with a foot injury. He's also overweight. There is some talk that he weighs 370 pounds. Yecch. If he can't go by the opener, Dennis Roland, a self-made player, will start at right tackle.

  The uncertainty at kicker. Former Jets draft pick Mike Nugent will battle Dave Rayner for the job. That isn't too enticing. Neither one is off to a good start.


Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
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