QB Boomer of the Bengals Hopes to Make More Noise

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Boomer Esiason, who has led the NFL's American Football Conference in passing the past two seasons, is working with a new Cincinnati Bengals mentor in chasing the elusive concept of perfection.

"The thing about football is that it's a game of near-perfection. You never can be totally the perfect player, the perfect package," the quarterback said. "You always have to strive to get better. There are always things you can do, whether it be fundamentally or mentally, you can always be a better player."

In his six-year NFL career, Esiason has completed 56.7% of his passes. He had a 92.1 rating last season--best in the AFC and second overall to Joe Montana's 112.4 rating with the NFC's San Francisco 49ers.

"That's why football is such a great game. You can never reach perfection, even Montana," Esiason said. "He completes 65% of his passes--not 100%, 65%--so it shows you the margin of error that's there. And you can never take for granted the success you've had in the past."

With the departure of offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet to become head coach of the New York Jets, Bengals Coach Sam Wyche realigned some of the coaching duties this season. He hired Dana Bible to coach the quarterbacks, something Wyche had been doing.

Bible is a former college coach at the University of Cincinnati, Miami of Ohio, North Carolina State, San Diego State and Toledo. This is his first job in the pros.

"I think Dana is in place for two reasons," Esiason said. "One is to give Sam more of an overall view of the entire team, rather than just concentrating on the offense and the quarterbacks. Two is to make sure, fundamentally, that the quarterback position is sound.

"Sam has always done that, but this guy is with us 24 hours a day, it seems like, and he's got a really good handle on the position.

"If he doesn't know something from the pro game, he'll ask and I'll try to explain. But it's a coach-player relationship and he's on me constantly about my fundamentals, and that's what it's all about."

Along with Esiason at quarterback, the Bengals have Erik Wilhelm, Todd Philcox and Stan Gelbaugh in camp.

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