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NFL Preseason Preview Capsules: AFC

AFC North: Cincinnati Bengals

OPEN CAMP: July 24, Cincinnati.

LAST YEAR: Won AFC North and made playoffs for third year in row, only to lose opening game once again. Haven't won playoff game since 1990 season, streak of futility tied for sixth longest in NFL history. Coach Marvin Lewis got one-year extension through 2015. Andy Dalton had best regular season, becoming only fifth starting QB during Super Bowl era to reach playoffs each of first three seasons.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Hue Jackson promoted to offensive coordinator, Paul Guenther promoted to defensive coordinator; S Danieal Manning; OT Marshall Newhouse; CB Darqueze Dennard; RB Jeremy Hill.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, offensive coordinator Jay Gruden; DE Michael Johnson; OT Anthony Collins; C Kyle Cook.

CAMP NEEDS: Focus will be on several injured players' recoveries. DT Geno Atkins tore ACL on Oct. 31 and couldn't participate in June minicamp. CB Leon Hall is ahead of schedule (torn Achilles tendon). Punter Kevin Huber returns from broken jaw and cracked neck vertebra. Hill, second-round pick from LSU, will challenge BenJarvus Green-Ellis for starting job. C Russell Bodine, fourth-round pick, will get chance to take over for Kyle Cook. Jackson is installing more up-tempo approach.

EXPECTATIONS: No mystery here: Bengals have to not only reach playoffs but win at least one game to consider season a success. With two new coordinators, lots of attention on whether either unit drops off. Zimmer known for excellent in-game adjustments; can Guenther do same? Also pivotal year for Dalton, who fell apart in playoff losses. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)



The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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