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News » Cincinnati Bengals Strategy and Personnel 2008-10-17

Cincinnati Bengals Strategy and Personnel 2008-10-17

Cincinnati Bengals Strategy and Personnel 2008-10-17

--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.

--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.

--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.


--LB Corey Mays (ankle) is out for the Steelers game Sunday.

--C Kyle Cook (toe) is out for the Steelers.

--K Shayne Graham (right groin, kicking leg) was limited in practice Thursday. He did not practice Wednesday and might miss his second game in a row. He is supposed to try to kick Thursday at practice, Marvin Lewis said. The Bengals signed Dave Rayner, who kicked against the Jets.

--S Dexter Jackson (thumb), who has missed five games, practiced Thursday and Wednesday.

--DT John Thornton (Achilles) missed the Jets game but might be back for the Steelers. He practiced fully Wednesday and Thursday.

--S Herana-Daze Jones (hamstring) might not play against the Steelers. He injured the leg in the first half against the Jets. He missed practice Wednesday and Thursday.

--CB Jamar Fletcher (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday and Thursday, and is expected to miss the Steelers game Sunday.

--RB Chris Perry (shoulder) did not practice Wednesday but did practice fully Thursday.

--LT Levi Jones (back) did practice fully Thursday after missing the Wednesday practice.

--TE Ben Utecht (chest) did not practice Wednesday but was limited Thursday.

--WR Glenn Holt (ankle) did not practice Wednesday or Thursday. Rookie Andre Caldwell might get the opportunity to return kickoffs.

--WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (ankle) did not practice Wednesday but was limited Thursday. He is expected to play Sunday.

--CB Johnathan Joseph (ankle) did not practice Wednesday but was limited Thursday. He is expected to start Sunday.

--LB Dhani Jones (foot) did not practice Wednesday but had full participation Thursday. He is expected to start Sunday.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 17, 2008

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