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News » Cincinnati Bengals Strategy and Personnel 2008-08-18

Cincinnati Bengals Strategy and Personnel 2008-08-18

Cincinnati Bengals Strategy and Personnel 2008-08-18
--LB Keith Rivers led the Bengals with seven tackles, all unassisted, in the preseason opening victory at Green Bay. "I didn't feel like I was as sharp as I should have been," Rivers said of his debut, which came six nights after he signed his rookie contract and with only five practices under his belt. "I should do better. I don't like to get yelled at. I try to do my job the best I can."

--OL Stacy Andrews, whether he ends up playing right tackle, right guard or somewhere else on the Bengals offensive line, says he's ready. "Everything has been going pretty good," he said. "My thing was to be better than I was last year. And I feel like I am."

His biggest improvement has come in the area of run blocking. Coordinator Bob Bratkowski and head coach Marvin Lewis have strongly emphasized the need for the Bengals to be more productive rushing the ball and controlling the clock.

"I don't have too many problems with pass pro (protection), and my thing was to focus more on my run blocking," Andrews said. "You have to have the proper footwork at all times. If you don't, you'll be behind the guy on a cut-off block or far enough in front."

--CB David Jones spent his rookie season of 2007 tucked in coach Marvin Lewis' pocket, Lewis said. Picked up off waivers from New Orleans, Jones appeared in seven games on special teams but was groomed in practice for a possible role on the defense.

But this year, having emerged ahead of ninth-year pro Deltha O'Neal as the Bengals' third cornerback, Jones saw extensive snaps in the preseason opener at Green Bay. He struggled early when he was beat deep on a pass completion and helped out by a drop. But as the game went on, the former Division II star at Wingate said he felt more comfortable. The Packers threw in his direction often.

"I settled down. It's really easy to lose technique when you have a lot going on," said Jones, credited with three solo tackles. Lewis said fatigue affected Jones' play yet was pleased with the second-year cornerback. It was the most snaps Jones had played in a game since college.

"He got a lot of work; the thing we kept harping on those guys is make sure you play good technique," Lewis said. "Don't fall back into bad habits just because you're getting tired."

--HB Rudi Johnson returned to practice Wednesday night for the first time in nearly two weeks and said it was a "great possibility" that he would play Sunday night in the second preseason game.

"Everything is good. I'm out here getting in the swing of things, picking up where I left off," Johnson said.

He had missed time with a slight hamstring injury and has been working out under the supervision of strength and conditioning coaches. Johnson, who missed five games and was limited in several others last season because of a left hamstring injury, said he has a minor issue with the right hamstring this camp.

"It was good. He got some good work in," head coach Marvin Lewis said of Johnson's showing during practice. "He appeared to have some burst, so that's good."

--OL Willie Anderson, opening the season as a likely backup, with 181 games played, is tied for sixth in Bengals franchise history. The top five are CB Ken Riley, 207; LB Reggie Williams, 206; QB Ken Anderson, 192; NT Tim Krumrie, 188; and OT Anthony Munoz, 185. PK Jim Breech played in 181 games.

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: As it has been throughout camp, the contest for No. 3 receiver and playing time behind starters Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh will remain the biggest of the preseason. Marcus Maxwell is dependable. Antonio Chatman can get some separation from defenders. Glenn Holt is tough in traffic. Rookies Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell might not be ready at the start of the season. Best hunch is the job will be handled by a committee.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: WR Antonio Chatman opened the preseason as the No. 1 punt return man for the third year in a row. But with CB Deltha O'Neal having a reduced role on defense, he will be given the chance to win the job. ... Coaches say the snaps G Bobbie Williams has been taking at center are just an emergency precaution, but the bigger line might suggest some unhappiness with the performance of starting C Eric Ghiaciuc. With Williams moving to center for 11-on-11 team drills during the camp practice Thursday, Stacy Andrews moved from right tackle to right guard, with healthy 13th-year pro Willie Anderson returning to right tackle. The left side stays the same with Levi Jones at tackle and Andrew Whitworth at guard.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: TB Chris Perry -- Returning to the field for the first time since sustaining a dislocated ankle in November 2006 at Cleveland, Perry rushed 11 times for 42 yards and a six-yard touchdown run at Green Bay. Marvin Lewis was impressed and said Perry is competing for the starting role.

ROOKIE REPORT: First-round LB Keith Rivers continues to impress with his maturity, seriousness and solid play on the field. ... 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 Aug. 9, but returned to play two nights later at Green Bay. ... Fourth-round OL Anthony Collins is quietly having a solid camp as the No. 2 left tackle. ... Sixth-round S Corey Lynch continues to make plays, recovering a fumble against the Packers.

INJURY REPORT: Marvin Lewis has offered no updates on DE Antwan Odom (foot) and backup SS Chinedum Ndukwe (lower leg). Lewis also was vague on the condition of backup C Dan Santucci, who left the Green Bay game with a potentially serious ankle injury.

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh continues to miss practice because trainers are being careful with a sore hamstring and want the Pro Bowl receiver ready for the opener Sept. 7.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: August 18, 2008

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