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News » Cincinnati Bengals Strategy and Personnel 2008-12-04


Cincinnati Bengals Strategy and Personnel 2008-12-04


Cincinnati Bengals Strategy and Personnel 2008-12-04
The Bengals have placed 21 players on the injured reserve list, a franchise single-season record.


PLAYER NOTES

--QB Carson Palmer will miss his ninth game of the season, due to a right (throwing) elbow injury he suffered Sept. 21 at the Giants. But Palmer says he's looking forward to a Dec. 6 or Dec. 8 target date to begin a throwing program. "I am just hoping there's some improvement in my elbow, and that I can have some zip on the ball," Palmer said following last week's Bengals loss to Baltimore. "I've just been staying focused on getting to this date, and we'll see what happens. If I need surgery, it's surgery. If I don't, we'll move from there."

--WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh's 112 catches last season was a Bengals record, and he is on pace to finish this season with 108. Passing the 100 mark two years in a row would be significant because only seven players in NFL history have had back-to-back 100-catch seasons, the last being Randy Moss (106-111) for the 2002-03 Vikings.

--P Kyle Larson's 81 punts for the Bengals are the most in the NFL, which coincides with a third-down offense that is 28th in the league in converting just 32.6 percent of the time.

--WR Chad Ocho Cinco is struggling through the least productive season of his career since his rookie year. He has 45 receptions and a 9.5-yard average. He caught an 18-yard pass on the first play of the Baltimore game - a sign of a big game? "No," he said. "We're in Week 200, and I haven't had a big day by now. I don't think a big day is coming any time soon. I just thought the season was just another slow start, which I always do, but for some reason we haven't been able to make the big play all season long."

--LT Levi Jones (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday.

--DE Antwan Odom (shoulder) is not expected to play Sunday.

GAME PLAN: The Bengals have are 2-14 in their last 16 road games and have lost all six games away from home this season. So they are on the road again. They will try to run the ball, which would help the defense. The Bengals had the ball for just 21:02 against Baltimore in the 34-3 loss Sunday. The Colts come in ranked 29th in run defense at 79.8 yards a game. Running the ball effectively would help the Bengals convert first downs, slow down the Indianapolis pass rush from ends Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney and keep Peyton Manning and the Colts precision pass game off the field.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Colts QB Peyton Manning vs. Bengals pass defense. Here is the matchup that will decide the game. Despite a slow start, Indianapolis' pass game has improved and is a threat. Peyton Manning's numbers aren't what they've been in past seasons, but he's still completing 63.1 percent of his throws and has 2,948 yards through 12 games, just off pace for another 4,000-yard season. Four Colts receivers have more than 47 receptions: tight end Dallas Clark, 47, four for touchdowns; Marvin Harrison, 48, four for touchdowns; Anthony Gonzalez, 48, three for touchdowns; and Reggie Wayne, 62, five for touchdowns. Manning has been sacked just 12 times. The Bengals have just 13 sacks total, and Manning should have a lot of time to pick apart an injury-depleted Cincinnati secondary that is missing cornerback Johnathan Joseph and free safety Marvin White, both on injured reserve. Strong safety Chinedum Ndukwe (foot) might be out again.

Bengals RB Cedric Benson vs. Colts run defense. The Bengals have dropped to 31st in the NFL in rushing, and no good can come of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick leading the team in rushing Sunday for the third game this season. Cedric Benson doesn't look like any more of the long-term answer than Chris Perry behind a suspect offensive line. After facing tough run defenses against Pittsburgh and Baltimore, the Bengals have a chance to move the ball on the ground against the Colts. They're 25th against the run at 133.8 yards a game and might be without two more starting defensive players, middle linebacker Gary Brackett and tackle Keyunta Dawson, both injured.

INJURY IMPACT: Injuries in the secondary and on the offensive line could really hurt their Bengals in their bid to upset Indianapolis at home. The Bengals have mounted little if any pass rush this season, and Peyton Manning will have time to survey the field.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 4, 2008

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