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Mittelstadt’s addition comes a day after
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Bobby Hart tops the Bengals' initial depth chart as the starting right tackle [url=http://www.buccaneerscheapstore.com/carlton-davis-jersey-cheap]Carlton Davis Jersey Buccaneers[/url] , but it's more of a first draft than a final report.
No part of the team will be under closer scrutiny than the offensive line when Cincinnati hosts the Bears on Thursday.
The line became the offseason priority after the Bengals (7-9) finished last in the NFL on offense for the first time in franchise history. The line was the biggest problem, creating few holes for running backs and giving Andy Dalton little time to throw.
Two weeks of training camp started sorting it out, with Hart listed as a starter for the moment. That could change quickly with a bad performance, dropping someone to the second unit.
"There is not a 'first' offensive line," coach Marvin Lewis said Tuesday.
Hart was the first move in changing the line. The Bengals signed him Feb. 14 as a free agent from the Giants, where he started 21 games at tackle over the past three seasons. He's competing with Cedric Ogbuehi at the spot.
Ogbuehi was a first-round pick in 2015 when he was recovering from a torn ACL. He started 12 games in 2016 at right tackle and 13 last season at left tackle, but struggled at both spots. His competition with Hart at right tackle will come down to how they perform in the preseason games.
Hart's experience helped him get the early edge.
"He's got the experience and the chip on his shoulder," Lewis said. "He's a guy battling for a job [url=http://www.giantsfootballauthentic.com/saquon-barkley-jersey-authentic]Saquon Barkley Jersey[/url] , battling to be a starter. He's still a very young player, a good athlete, a big man, still has development ahead of him. That was the attraction to Bobby."
One of Cincinnati's biggest moves in the offseason was trading first-round draft slots with Buffalo to obtain left tackle Cordy Glenn . He's backed up by Jake Fisher, a second-round pick in 2015 who started seven games at right tackle last season before a heart condition required a procedure.
Left guard Clint Boling is the main holdover on the line, entering his eighth season 鈥?the past six as a starter. Trey Hopkins returns at right tackle, where he started the last 11 games last season.
The Bengals' other big move to upgrade the line came in the draft. They took Ohio State center Billy Price in the first round and installed him as the starter. He had some problems with snaps early in camp.
"Billy still has to go out there and earn the job," Lewis said. "We are giving him the first crack at it."
The coaches would like to have the competition sort out so they can get their starters enough playing time together during the preseason.
"That area has to play as one [url=http://www.pittsburghsteelersteamstore.com/terrell-edmunds-jersey]Wholesale Terrell Edmunds Jersey[/url] ," said Duke Tobin, director of player personnel. "You can't have five individuals up there. There's still a lot of work to find out who that five are going to be and get them playing as one unit."
DARK CLOUD OVERHEAD: A downpour 45 minutes into practice forced drenched players to head for cover at Paul Brown Stadium. Practice resumed about an hour later in a steady rain. The Bengals are the only northern NFL franchise without their own covered practice field.
NO BURFICT: Lewis said Vontaze Burfict won't play Thursday. The linebacker wasn't cleared to practice until Monday because of a hamstring problem. Burfict is suspended for the first four games of the season because he violated the NFL's policy on performance-enhancers.
WHAT ABOUT EIFERT?: Lewis declined to say whether tight end Tyler Eifert will play against the Bears. He was held out of the start of camp as he recovers from chronic back problems that limited him to two games last season.
The Sabres’ top prospect, center Casey Mittelstadt, is leaving Minnesota following his freshman season after agreeing to a three-year, entry-level contract with Buffalo on Monday.
Mittelstadt is scheduled to join the Sabres on Tuesday, and general manger Jason Botterill said he expects the player to make his NHL debut Thursday, when Buffalo hosts the Detroit Red Wings.
With Buffalo out of playoff contention, Botterill also told reporters before Buffalo’s game at Toronto on Monday that he hoped Mittlestadt would consider representing the United States at the world hockey championships in Denmark in May.
The agreement with the Sabres was reached a little over a week after Minnesota’s season ended by failing to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. The Golden Gophers are also undergoing a change after coach Don Lucia announced he is stepping down following 19 seasons.
The 19-year-old Mittelstadt was selected by the Sabres with the No. 8 pick in the 2017 draft.
Mittelstadt had 11 goals and 19 assists in 34 games and was named to the Big Ten all-freshmen team this year.
He has already made a splash in Buffalo after creating several highlight-reel plays in representing the bronze-medal-winning United States team at the World Junior hockey championship [url=http://www.officialblackhawksproshop.com/authentic-adidas-adam-boqvist-jersey]Authentic Adam Boqvist Jersey[/url] , which was held in the city three months ago.
From Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Mittelstadt was named the 10-nation tournament’s MVP after finishing tied for first in scoring with 11 points (four goals, seven assists).
Botterill was impressed by how Mittelstadt excelled at the world juniors.
”With it being here in Buffalo, there was that added pressure,” Botterill told The Associated Press in January. ”And I think you saw a player who instead of succumbing to the pressure, actually thriving in that type of environment.”
Mittelstadt’s most memorable goal came in a in a 3-2 preliminary-round loss to Slovakia.
With the U.S. trailing 2-1, Mittelstadt stripped the puck from Marian Studenic at the Slovakia blue line and circled back into the zone. Mittelstadt kicked the puck between his legs to avoid a check by defender Michal Ivan and didn’t break stride in cutting across the top of the crease and avoiding goalie Roman Durny. He swept a shot into the open left side with 3:11 remaining.
Mittelstadt joins a Sabres team that has already extended its franchise-worst playoff drought to seven years [url=http://www.authenticsdetroitlions.com/cheap-frank-ragnow-jersey]Frank Ragnow Jersey Elite[/url] , and in jeopardy of finishing last in the overall standings for the third time in five seasons.
The Sabres have six games left after playing Toronto, and they are not allowed to demote Mittelstadt to the minors this spring.
Mittelstadt will use up the first year of his contract this season. However, he would not be eligible to be exposed for selection in an expansion draft in 2020, should the NHL approve Seattle’s bid to join the league for the 2020-21 season.
Mittelstadt’s addition comes a day after defenseman Will Borgen elected to skip his senior season at St. Cloud State to sign a three-year contract with the Sabres.
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