This week we’re chatting with David Wellman from StripeHype, a Cincinnati Bengals blog. We’ll post the link here when our post on their site goes live.

Who have been some surprises in Bengals camp that we might want to look out for on Thursday night?

The coaching staff has reportedly been pleasantly surprised by the progress of Anthony Collins at right tackle, especially with the continued absence of first-round pick Andre Smith. After starting six games at left tackle as a rookie, Collins slid to the other side with minimal fuss. He had some good and bad moments in the opener against New Orleans, but certainly looks like he can man the spot.

Bengals fans will definitely be watching how unheralded center Kyle Cook holds up against NT Vince Wilfork, as that’s the kind of challenge he’ll face going against the Ravens, Steelers and Browns.

Defensively, Thursday should mark the first appearance of second-rounder LB Rey Maualuga, who is still battling a hammy injury that goes back to his senior year at USC DE Michael Johnson, our third round pick, showed some promise against the Saints but fans are looking for more.

Watch for sixth-round RB Bernard Scott, who fell in the draft due to off-field problems, but appears to have straightened up and looked good against second-stringers last week. I’d like to see him get some snaps against a first-team D before I crown him the next Corey Dillon, though.

I know it’s been a few years, but with Brady’s comeback, it’s a relevant question here…has Carson Palmer really ever returned to being the QB he was before his ACL injury? (And yes, I know he’s not playing tonight.)

In my opinion, no. But to be fair, the offensive line began to collapse immediately after that season, with longtime center Rich Braham suffering a career-ending injury, and both tackles (Levi Jones and Willie Anderson) coming up with injuries that would limit their play and performance from 2006 onward. So it’s hard to tell how much is Palmer and how much is the players in front of him.

Was last season a blip for Chad Ocho Cinco (I had him on my fantasy squad and he killed me) or is he headed downhill?

Again, the Bengals had no o-line, no running game, and Harvard product Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starting QB for 12 games, so how much was Chad and how much was the team, who knows? Chad has admitted that he didn’t train in the offseason before the 2008 campaign, had late ankle surgery and then hurt his shoulder in camp — and wasn’t exactly “Mr. Buy-In” either. This year, The Ocho appears to have gotten his act together, and showed some moves against the Saints that we haven’t seen in years. So he will be better. I think he’s good for 1,000+ and 10 TDs this season, assuming Carson can stay healthy and the o-line can keep him upright.

Of course, I also predicted the Bengals would go 10-6 last season, so what do I know?

What are you thoughts as a Bengals fan on Marvin Lewis as a head coach?

Marvin-bashing is a popular sport in Bengaldom, but I think he’s done an amazing job all things considered. I mean, he works for just about the worst owner in all of sports in Mike Brown, who parts with money only grudgingly and in small amounts, meddles incessantly (with plainly horrible results) and as the re-signing of Chris Henry showed in 2008, doesn’t hesitate to publicly cut his head coach off at the knees. Yet Lewis has managed to navigate the Brown family’s legendary football incompetence and amass a 46-49-1 record. I know, that doesn’t sound like much, but it’s the Bengals’ best six-year span since the end of the Paul Brown era in 1985-90. That’s how tough it’s been to win in Cincy since son Mikey took over.

I will agree with those who ding Marvin as a lousy in-game manager.

Thanks David!