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News » Cincinnati Bengals Strategy and Personnel 2008-09-27

Cincinnati Bengals Strategy and Personnel 2008-09-27

Cincinnati Bengals Strategy and Personnel 2008-09-27
The Bengals made a pair of roster moves on the off-day Tuesday designed to bring some experience to a very young secondary. They signed free-agent cornerback Jamar Fletcher to a one-year contract. He is an eighth-year NFL player with 94 games played and 10 starts. He played with the Texans last year. He was a former first-round pick of Miami in 2001 from Wisconsin.

The Bengals waived cornerback Geoffrey Pope, a first-year player from Howard who played on special teams in the loss Sunday at the Giants. The club also released rookie wide receiver Maurice Purify from its practice squad. Pope is expected to land back on the practice squad. Fletcher practiced Wednesday with the Bengals.

--CB Johnathan Joseph (ankle), who did not play in Week 3 against the Giants, did not practice Wednesday or Thursday. He has been working on the field with strength coaches.

--CB Jamar Fletcher, signed Tuesday to a one-year contract, very well could see action Sunday at home against the Browns. Fellow CB David Jones (knee) was limited in practice Thursday.

--TE Ben Utecht, despite the pain in his chest from a Week 2 injury, was limited for a second day in a row at practice after missing all of the week leading up to the Giants game, which he also missed. He said his ability to play against the Browns would be a matter of pain tolerance.

--S Chinedum Ndukwe (groin) practiced fully Thursday. He is likely to make his third start in a row in place of Dexter Jackson at strong safety. Jackson is out again this week with a thumb injury. Ndukwe and Browns backup quarterback Brady Quinn were roommates at Notre Dame and high school teammates in suburban Columbus, Ohio.

--DT John Thornton (knee), who did not practice Wednesday, was elevated to limited practice Thursday. He is expected to be rested during the week this season. He will start Sunday.

GAME PLAN: Coach Marvin Lewis on Monday appealed to Bengals fans, though many are disenchanted by the team's 0-3 start, to show up, be loud and make a difference Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals would like nothing more than to get a lead and keep it. Pass protection broke down Sunday at the Giants, when Carson Palmer was sacked six times. When he stayed upright, he was hot, throwing for 286 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. The Bengals think they can throw on the Browns. If they get a lead, the Bengals can make the Browns one-dimensional offensively, essentially taking bruising running back Jamal Lewis out of the picture and forcing Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn to throw more than they normally would. The Bengals actually might end with a couple sacks then. The Bengals will face a lot of Jamal Lewis; the former Ravens tailback has a 119.3-yard average in 13 career meetings against the Bengals.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Bengals RB Chris Perry vs. Browns run defense. Cleveland is allowing 145 yards a game on the ground, and Perry -- the Bengals' featured back for the first time in his five-year pro career, has improved each week. He has run 60 times for 180 yards, just a 3.0-yard average, but he is making better reads of his blockers and cutting away from traffic. He ran 25 yards for a touchdown against the Giants and looks to be gaining confidence each week.

Bengals WRs T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Ocho Cinco vs. Browns CBs Brandon McDonald and Eric Wright. McDonald is playing better than Wright at cornerback in terms of coverage and run support. Ocho Cinco nemesis Leigh Bodden is no longer with the Browns; he was one cornerback in the NFL who could single-cover Ocho Cinco and make him earn every catch. So far this season, defenses are double-teaming Ocho Cinco and rolling coverage his way. Houshmandzadeh is getting a lot of attention too, though he had a big game against the Giants. Third receiver Antonio Chatman has given the Bengals a boost too. He had six catches for 70 yards at New York. He has been open in the middle in single coverage against a safety if defenses pay too much attention outside.

INJURY IMPACT: Third cornerback David Jones (knee) was limited in practice, meaning newly acquired CB Jamar Fletcher might play Sunday. Starting CB Johnathan Joseph, who missed the Giants game because of a sprained ankle, did not practice Wednesday. ... DT John Thornton, another starter, did not practice Wednesday because of a knee injury. He is expected to start Sunday.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 27, 2008

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