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News » Cincinnati Bengals Strategy and Personnel 2008-08-13


Cincinnati Bengals Strategy and Personnel 2008-08-13


Cincinnati Bengals Strategy and Personnel 2008-08-13
The Bengals roster stands at 79 players after a few minor moves early in the second week of camp. Besides the big news of signing first-round LB Keith Rivers to a five-year, $23 million contract, the club waived rookie CB Jonathan Zenon (hamstring) with an injury settlement. They also waived former Ohio State FB Tyler Whaley.


The Bengals then signed CB Jerrid Gaines, the former Miami University player who had been with the team in the spring before his release. Gaines practiced Tuesday. Finally, the Bengals waived rookie WR Travis Brown with an injury settlement (hamstring). He played college ball at New Mexico and was acquired off waivers May 6 from Seattle.

--RB Kenny Irons, in what appears to be their final parting of the ways, was waived by the Bengals from the reserve
--DE Jonathan Fanene, though listed as No. 2 left defensive end, has quietly ascended to the starting role the past few days at right end. Antwan Odom is still out with a sprained foot, and Frostee Rucker had been getting most of the work with the first-team defense. Slowed by a hamstring and other injuries at various points in his first three seasons, Fanene is healthy and had been on the field consistently in camp.

--DT Jason Shirley faces a Sept. 24 trial date in Fresno, Calif., on three misdemeanors: hit and run, driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol content of .08 percent or higher, The Fresno Bee reported. It will be his second trial. In June, a jury failed to reach a verdict after three days of deliberation. The trial had been scheduled to begin Aug. 27, but a judge at a hearing Thursday said he would give Shirley's lawyer more time to acquire and review transcripts of the first trial. Shirley was the Bengals' fifth-round pick from Fresno State.

--CB Johnathan Joseph is having a strong camp. He has been covering WR Chad Johnson in practice this week and grabs at least one interception a day. Coach Marvin Lewis credits Joseph's hard work leading up to the offseason conditioning program as a reason. He's also healthy after undergoing surgery in June 2007 to address a stress fracture in his foot.

"He kind of set the pace involved in the program, so he is seeing kind of that reward now," Lewis said. "His body is holding together."

--C Eric Ghiaciuc, the starter, missed four games last season because of neck and thumb injuries and a foot sprain. This preseason, he's part of a healthy Bengals offensive line.

"The fact I'm healthier now is awesome. I'm feeling good. I feel great to be back with the team," Ghiaciuc said. "Guys had time to heal in the offseason. And we did as much as we possibly could to get healthy, and it shows."

The Bengals have been holding high-profile auditions in practice for a third backup at center. Starting Gs Bobbie Williams and Andrew Whitworth have taken snaps -- including in the shot-gun formation. Dan Santucci is the No. 2 center on the depth chart.

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Backup linebacker positions are being hotly contested. Rookie Keith Rivers and Dhani Jones in the middle look like sure-fire starters. Jones has the confidence of coordinator Mike Zimmer to call signals and wear the new defensive communicator device on the field. At strong side, Rashad Jeanty has been injured much of camp and could be out with a leg injury through the preseason. Darryl Blackstock is running ahead of Ahmad Brooks at Sam on the depth chart. Brandon Johnson and Corey Mays appear to have the edge for two other spots.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: The injury to No. 2 SS Chinedum Ndukwe (out for weeks with a knee injury) could open up spots for backups John Busing and Corey Lynch on the roster. Special teams ability is a must for backup defensive backs. ... Deltha O'Neal and Antonio Chatman are competing to be the No. 1 punt returner.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Rookie LB Keith Rivers -- Rivers missed 10 days and 12 practices of camp in a contract holdout. But he apparently did what he said he did -- work out hard and study even harder. He came to camp and impressed coaches and teammates with his preparation. He vowed to catch up quickly, and after just five practices pretty much did. He has moved back into the starting spot at Will linebacker and has the look of a fixture for years to come.

ROOKIE REPORT: The Bengals are pushing DTs Pat Sims (third round) and Jason Shirley (fifth) extremely hard. They need them to play, especially Sims. ... The best news about WRs Jerome Simpson (second) and Andre Caldwell (third) is that they have avoided injuries and have been on the field every day; Caldwell had sore legs Saturday and was given the day off but is day to day.

INJURY REPORT: Backup SS Chinedum Ndukwe was taken off the field on a cart Wednesday morning after injuring his knee. He did return to the field but did not participate further in practice. He had an MRI during the afternoon, and coach Marvin Lewis was vague about the injury, but it is believed serious enough to keep Ndukwe out for a few weeks.

TB Rudi Johnson and WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, two valuable skill players in the Bengals offense, have missed almost a week each of training camp because of hamstring injuries. Johnson, who missed five games and was limited in several others because of a left hamstring injury, said he has a minor issue with the right hamstring this camp. Houshmandzadeh, who had consistent problems with his hamstrings earlier in his career, also has what is described as a minor hamstring ailment that he, too, is resting. Offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski said the goal now is to avoid a prolonged injury that could jeopardize his availability for the opener Sept. 7 at Baltimore.

DE Antwan Odom remains sidelined in a protective boot on his sprained left foot.

Rookie WR Andre Caldwell missed his first practice of camp Saturday but should be fine. Caldwell said he had sore legs and did not pull or tweak anything. Bratkowski said he wasn't sure if Caldwell would play.

Word on the sideline Saturday was that S Herana-Daze Jones (groin) and LB Rashad Jeanty (leg) might be out until the third or fourth preseason games.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: August 13, 2008

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