Updated: 4:30 p.m.
Defensive end Jon Fanene, sidelined since the opener with a hamstring injury, said before Wednesday’s practice that he’s ready to go for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game in Atlanta (Cincinnati’s Channel 12) and joins a defense that has just six sacks. That’s how many Fanene had last season, mainly from inside as a tackle in the nickel pass rush.
“There’s a lot of pressure on us,” Fanene admitted before he went full go in the workout. “We’ve been letting (the quarterback) break contain and get out of the pocket.”
» Not working Wednesday were safety
» As expected, Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson (concussion) didn't practice Wednesday and isn't expected to play.
» After watching film of the Falcons defense in its last two games during a 90-minute session Tuesday afternoon with head coach Marvin Lewis, wide receiver
“But it’s coming,” he said, and he did reveal that he sent something unnamed to the Atlanta secondary.
TMZ via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Ochocinco shipped boxes of shirts featuring the "Mad Chad" character from his iPhone game to defensive backs Dunta Robinson, Brent Grimes, Chris Owens, William Moore and Thomas DeCoud, the report said.
But the man who sent a bottle of Pepto-Bismol to each starter of the Cleveland secondary before a 2004 game, as well as deodorant to the Ravens DBs last year, was trying to low-key it Wednesday.
According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, one of the DBs didn't get it yet as of early Wednesday afternoon. But Atlanta's leading wide receiver, Roddy White, didn't like it.
"For us, personally, on offense, we're going to try to run the score up on them, whatever the circumstances are in the game," White said. "I don't think it's cool. I don't think
"I wouldn't do that. That's not cool. It's just disrespectful. Just going out on a limb and doing a bunch of things like that. He's a funny guy and stuff like that. But guys like that take stuff like that personally. So when he goes into a game and they hit him and then they get fined for it because he sent some T-shirts ... I just don't like it. Period. I don't like it. Those are my teammates and I'll defend them for anything. When we're out there on Sunday I'm out there with them. And if they knock him out of the game, who cares?"
Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez, who next to Terrell Owens has the most catches among active players, has seen it all in his 14 seasons and he didn't sound all that miffed.
"That's what he's all about. Him and T.O., it's the focus on them," Gonzalez said. "I think it's great. I think it's funny. Let's just go out there and take care of business. It gets guys motivated and ready to roll. It's one of those things that I think the fans enjoy it, so why not? I think it's in good nature, too. I know Chad. He's going to talk trash, too. You just go out there play the game and see what happens."
» For the first time in his life, Georgia product
» Running back
» The Bengals on Wednesday cleared safety
Nelson has been on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list, due to a knee injury he suffered in last year’s final regular-season game. This week marks the start of a three-week window during which Nelson may practice without being counted against the 53-player roster limit. His status is eligible to be changed at any point during the window, and it must be determined by the end of the window.
Lewis said Nelson could be activated for Sunday, or that the Bengals could just go with 52 players on the roster because they're in pretty good health.
» Wide receiver Terrell Owens took the NFL to task for promoting the violence of the game and then vowing in midseason to suspend and heavily fine players for helmet-to-helmet hits.
“The league shouldn’t before the season show all these bone-crushing hits and then come out and fine the guys for what they’re promoting this game for,” Owens said. “I think that’s very contradictory.”
» Lewis, a member of the NFL competition committee, says nothing has changed on helmet-to-helmet hits. The standard, he said, was already set at last March’s league meeting when the NFL expanded the window to protect “defenseless players.”
“I have nothing to do with it,” said Lewis of the league’s latest attempt for player safety. “It was an adjustment made during the offseason. That hasn’t changed.”
» Lewis calls Falcons head coach Mike Smith one of his best friends. When Lewis was the defensive coordinator in Baltimore, Smith was his defensive line coach and taught him a bunch about computers. Enough that Lewis brought many of Smith's cyberspace methods to Cincinnati.
They usually talk about once a week, but not lately. Lewis figures Smith is listenening intently to his owner, Arthur Blank. When Lewis was in Atlanta for a golf tournament back in the spring, Blank joked, "This is the last time we can be nice to him," in anticipation of Sunday's game.