Monday, May 5, 2003

New QB to get some rest

Bengals notebook: Lewis pleased with Palmer's start

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

After a whirlwind month, Carson Palmer gets a couple of weeks to rest.

The first overall draft pick, who signed a seven-year contract on April 24, completed his first Bengals minicamp Sunday and received high marks from coach Marvin Lewis.

"He's really handled things very well," Lewis said. "He's been very deliberate with the football, knowing where it should go and is working hard at studying.

"He's certainly not behind where he ought to be. He's worked real hard at it."

Palmer said he would go home to Orange County, Calif., and return to Cincinnati for on-field sessions beginning May 19. NFL rules prohibit him from participating again with his team until his college class has graduated. The University of Southern California holds its commencement at the end of next week.

Palmer called his first on-field NFL experience a good one. On Friday, he noticed how much quicker the pro game is when a middle linebacker knocked down a post pattern Palmer thought he had completed.

"Day by day, you learn how much faster you have to be with each read, how much faster you have to be with your feet and your arm," he said. "You make adjustments. That was one of the first balls I threw that I realized you do have to speed up, so I've adjusted already."

His overall impression?

"If anything, I realized I have a lot of work to do and a lot of learning to do," Palmer said, "but the good thing is, I've got a lot of time."

He is expected to play behind starter Jon Kitna this season.

SECOND ROUNDER: Eric Steinbach lined up at left guard all weekend.

"Eric did an excellent job," Lewis said. "He's going to be an excellent player for us ... He needs to learn the pro game and how physical it is in there against bigger guys every single week."

SIGN HERE, PLEASE: Lewis wants his draft picks to sign contracts and avoid holdouts.

"I've urged those guys to make sure they did what Carson did and urge to their people that work for them that it's good to get signed and get moving," Lewis said, "because that's going to give them a better opportunity to flourish."

POWER & GLORY: Lewis wore a microphone for NFL Films during Sunday morning's minicamp practice.

"You don't really notice it," Lewis said. "I've kind of done it before."

He'd like to have them back in January - playoff time.

"That's the goal for everything," Lewis said. "I want you guys (local media) to be sitting here in January as well."

THREE CHEERS: Saturday night's alumni dinner featured a custom Bengals historical highlight reel courtesy of NFL Films.

Lewis requested the movie of NFL Films president Steve Sabol, an acquaintance. Sabol complied and sent a 10-minute tape replete with music.

LOOKING AHEAD: Training camp begins July 27, less than three months from now.

"When you get to training camp, our focus now moves into more the playing the theories and concepts, which is just a whole change for this building," Lewis said. "The days of going to training camp and learning what you're doing are way gone if you want to be any good when the season comes."



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