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Let’s Go Camping

When the dog days of summer arrive in Major League Baseball, that can mean one thing.

Okay, two things.

The first thing is baseball pennant races start to heat up and teams scramble to make that final deal before the trading deadline.

The second thing is the start of football season.

Whether it’s high school, college or professional, teams begin conditioning and two-a-day practices by the first of August. Teams set objectives in advance and use training camps to try and meet their goals.

Training camp opens for the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday. Browns’ rookies reported last Friday and they will be joined by the veterans this Friday.

The Bengals will again train at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky., town near Lexington. The Browns will be at their regular practice site in Berea. Practices are open to fans and players are usually very cooperative about signing autographs after workouts.

While admission to Bengal practices are free, there are parking fees. Cars are $15, school buses, RVs and small passenger vans $25, and large buses $50.

Admission and parking to the Browns’ training camp are free.

Both teams are coming off dismal seasons and have tried to improve during the off-season. Training camp is the first real test to see how well they have drafted and if the trades and free agent signings were the right moves.

Cincinnati Bengals

For the Bengals, the defense played well last season but the offense fell apart with the injury to quarterback Carson Palmer and a deteriorating offensive line.

Cincinnati’s first training camp objective is to develop the offensive line that now has first round draft pick Andre Smith of Alabama. Secondly, the Bengals must see how much the loss of wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh has hurt the offense and how much the addition of Lavernaues Coles will go toward filling that void.

The third objective will to add depth to the running back position. The Bengals were able to sign Cedric Benson last season to make up for the release of Rudi Johnson, but the depth chart thins quickly.

The Bengals will also school linebacker Rey Maualuga in hopes of improving that position, and third-round pick Michael Johnson must learn how to continue putting pressure on the quarterback at the professional level.

Cleveland Browns

Where do we start?

Yes, the quarterback job is always grabs the spotlight and it’s no different with the Browns as first-year coach Eric Mangini tries to pick between Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson.

Quinn who did well in a brief trial period last year before an injury ended his season prematurely. He is also a fan favorite and had the largest-selling jersey among Browns’ players despite being a backup to the inconsistent Anderson.

The offensive line has improved, but the receiving corps has become a question mark. The Browns traded tight end Kellen Winslow II and tried to deal wide receiver Braylon Edwards who drops as many as he catches.

Jamal Lewis is a good running back, but he is beginning to show signs of wear and tear and the Browns must find some depth.

On the defensive side, the Browns were 28th against the run last year and didn’t do very well rushing the passer. On top of that, the secondary is considered weak, but that might be due in part to the lack of a pass rush and inability of the front seven to stop the run.

And you wonder why Romeo Crennel was fired?

Cincinnati Bengals

2009 Preseason Games Schedule

August

14 at New Orleans 8:00

20 at New England 7:30

27 St. Louis 7:30

September

3 Indianapolis 7:30

Cleveland Browns

2009 Preseason Games Schedule

August

15 at Green Bay 8:00

22 Detroit 7:30

29 Tennessee 7:30

September

3 at Chicago 8:00