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News » Cincinnati Bengals Strategy and Personnel 2008-10-16

Cincinnati Bengals Strategy and Personnel 2008-10-16

Cincinnati Bengals Strategy and Personnel 2008-10-16
The Bengals held several players out of practice Wednesday.

Cornerback Jamar Fletcher (hamstring), kicker Shayne Graham (groin), wide receiver Glenn Holt (ankle), wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh (ankle), linebacker Dhani Jones (foot), safety Herana-Daze Jones (hamstring), left tackle Levi Jones (back), cornerback Johnathan Joseph (ankle), tailback Chris Perry (shoulder) and tight end Ben Utecht (chest) did not practice Wednesday.

The number out of practice was the most since the first week of the season, head coach Marvin Lewis said.

Three players are out for the Steelers game: center Kyle Cook (toe), linebacker Corey Mays (ankle) and Palmer (right elbow) are out.


--DT John Thornton (Achilles) participated fully. He did not dress against the Jets this past weekend. He is a six-year Bengals starter.

--WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh has 14 third-down receptions, leading the AFC and leading all wide receivers in the NFL. The only player ahead of him is Dallas tight end Jason Witten at 17. Houshmandzadeh leads the AFC by three over Jerricho Cotchery of the Jets. All three of Houshmandzadeh's TD catches have come on third downs. The three third-down scores tie him for the NFL lead, with Hines Ward of Pittsburgh and Greg Jennings of Green Bay.

He did not practice Wednesday because of an ankle injury but is expected to start Sunday against the Steelers.

--LB Dhani Jones led the Bengals with 13 total tackles and eight solo tackles at the Jets. He leads the team with 73 tackles for the year, 23 ahead of rookie linebacker Keith Rivers. Jones has the team's four highest tackle totals in a game this year, with three 15-tackle games to go along with the 13-stop effort against the Jets. No other Bengals defender has more than 11 tackles in a game.

He did not practice Wednesday because of a foot injury but will start Sunday against Pittsburgh.

--WR Chad Ocho Cinco continues to pad his margin as the Bengals' all-time receiving yards leader. His team-leading 57 yards last week pushed his career total to 8581, more than 1,400 yards ahead of second-place Isaac Curtis. Ocho Cinco has posted the top five receiving yards seasons in Bengals history.

--WR Marcus Maxwell was waived Wednesday from the injured reserve list. He sustained a thigh injury in the preseason and was waived injured Aug. 21 and reverted to the Bengals IR list after clearing waivers Aug. 22.

GAME PLAN: The Bengals can't continue to expose its defense on the field. Much of the problem is the result of an offense that suddenly this season is capable of going two or three possessions at a time without gaining a first down. This Cincinnati weakness will play right into the hands of the Steelers, though not having as strong an offensive line as in recent seasons, is still capable of consuming large blocks of time on long drives -- even those that end in field goals. With Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback, the Bengals must find a way to avoid duplicating the start of the 26-14 loss at the Jets in Week 6, when they were three and out three times and lost a fumble on third down on another drive without gaining one first down. In all, in 10 possessions against the Jets, the Bengals were three-and-out five times.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Bengals QB Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Steelers pass rush: Fitzpatrick will start his third game in four weeks in place of injured Carson Palmer (right throwing elbow). Fitzpatrick does seem to involve wide receiver Chad Ocho Cinco more in the offense, and Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said the offense might need overall to rely more on star outside receivers Ocho Cinco and T.J. Houshmandzadeh (38 receptions) to get it going. Pittsburgh has 18 sacks and is No. 2 in the NFL in sacks per pass play. Steelers outside linebackers LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison have 12 between them.

--Bengals RB Chris Perry vs. Steelers rush defense: Cincinnati is second to last in the NFL in rushing at 72.2 yards a game, and the Steelers are second against the run at 66.8 yards a game. Perry, whose average rush has dropped to 2.6 yards, might get pushed more this week by backup Cedric Benson, who was not as effective against the Jets as he was in his Bengals debut at Dallas. The Steelers will welcome back injured starters Casey Hampton at nose tackle and Brett Keisel at end. Strong safety Troy Polamalu is healthy and will make his presence known.

INJURY IMPACT: Head coach Marvin Lewis said both rookie wide receivers Andre Caldwell and Jerome Simpson might dress and could play Sunday. The problem is an ankle injury to wide receiver and kickoff returner Glenn Holt. Caldwell might return punts.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 16, 2008

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