Who Dey notes: Bengals training camp, Andre Smith could be the key

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Oct 11, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Andre Smith (71) celebrates after his team defeated the Seattle Seahawks at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati defeated Seattle 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 11, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Andre Smith (71) celebrates after his team defeated the Seattle Seahawks at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati defeated Seattle 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports /
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It’s almost time for the Bengals to turn it up at training camp. With a full workout at the guard position, Andre Smith could surprise some folks.

That familiar smell is in the air. Pigskin roasting on an open fire. Well, maybe the heat from a sweltering summer day can arouse those manufactured smells of vulcanized rubber (live long and prosper). Okay, I’ll just say it. The Bengals announced the opening of training camp and days to go watch the festivities. It’s time to pack a cooler full of fatty snacks, sugary drinks and the hopes for a successful 2017.

The Bengals will kick things off on July 28. That’s the official countdown to the Season Opener against Baltimore and the road to Super Bowl LII.

With the Bengals determined to bounce back from last season’s 6-9-1 horror story, things will get pretty heated. According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, there won’t be any joint practices against NFL rivals. Last year, the Bengals knocked heads with the Giants and Vikings. A few scuffles took place and heated competition got fans fired up. Looks like that may have gone the way of LeBron James’ hair. Buh-bye.

Camp will end on August 10 and the highlight will be Family Day on August 5. Dates and times for open practices can be found here.

This is it, Bengals faithful. Hurry, hurry, step right up! The 2017 season will be a duck hunt to end all duck hunts. Marvin Lewis needs the Stripes to win and look dominating while doing it. If you believe in the power of positive thinking, now’s the time to get together with other Bengals believers and will them to the Big Dance. And, as an added treat, with no injuries.

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Maybe that heading is a little misleading. Andre Smith never rapped with Andre 3000. But, he is a big stud. Smith is in his second stint with the Bengals, after looking for a ring in Minnesota. An injury set him back most of the 2016 season. When Cincy lost the services of Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler, Mike Brown had him on speed dial.

Most fans remember him for giving up untimely sacks to Andy Dalton. But, there’s hope. Offensive line coach Paul Alexander is high on Dre. He feels Smith has the opportunity to turn heads this season.

"“I think Andre has a chance to be terrific at guard,” Alexander said, via Bengals.com. “He’s getting to start from the beginning this year with the base techniques and then learn the offense as he goes. If we all of a sudden picked him up a week before the season and said, ‘Go play right guard,’ I don’t think he could do it. But going through this progression I think he’ll be fine.”"

Next: Motivation Time

If Smith actually gets the hang of his new spot while Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher perform as expected, the Bengals offense could make a serious splash in the league. Getting back to the level of former Cincinnati O-lines is a step towards stability. And that can be just what catapults this franchise back into the playoff conversation.

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