Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
GEORGETOWN, Ky. -- On Friday the AFC North blog got its first look at the Cincinnati Bengals during their 2009 training camp.
The team practiced in shorts and will not do any heavy hitting until the weekend. But here are some observations from Friday's practice:
Let's start with a little contract news. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said there was no update on the progress of contract talks with first-round pick Andre Smith, who was a no-show for the opening of training camp. Second-year player Anthony Collins worked with the starters at right tackle in place of Smith.
Starting quarterback Carson Palmer remains on a pitch count, but it will be divided and monitored closely over both practices when there's two-a-days. During minicamp, Palmer threw in the morning session and shut it down for the evening practice. But the coaching staff wants the quarterback and the first-team offense to maintain a rhythm throughout the summer.
As advertised, Bengals veteran safety Roy Williams worked with the first-team defense Friday ahead of Chinedum Nduwke. The two are locked in one of the better position battles on the team.
Speaking of Williams, he made the play of the day in team drills with a pick six off Palmer. Receiver Jerome Simpson dropped a slant across the middle and had the football bounce off his chest and into the hands of a sliding Williams. The safety then popped up quickly to take the football the other way for a score.
Receiver Chad Ochocinco was a crowd favorite Friday. One woman in the stands screamed "I love you, Chad!" Ochocinco turned to the fan, signaled his hand next to his ear and said "Call me."
It's easy to tell that rookie linebacker Rey Maualuga is getting antsy for full contact. On several occasions Friday, Maualuga put forth extra effort in wrapping up ball carriers in what was expected to be a low-contact day. In particular, Maualuga laid a pretty good shot on an unsuspecting Chris Henry when the receiver caught the ball in his area. The coaching staff may have to work on toning down Maualuga's aggressiveness against his own team in practice this summer. But for the Bengals, it beats the alternative.