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Friday notes: Clements, Allen doubtful; Hall, Faine questionable; Brat sighting

Posted Sep 28, 2012


Leon Hall

Updated: 7 p.m.

The Bengals Friday injury report is as grim as anticipated with one secondary starter doubtful (Nate Clements) and another (Leon Hall) questionable with a backup (Jason Allen) also doubtful.

Plus, center Jeff Faine (hamstring) was limited Friday and is classified as questionable, which puts rookie free agent Trevor Robinson on the doorstep of his first NFL start. Running back Bernard Scott (ankle) is also questionable after being limited Friday, as is backup linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy after he missed Friday with an illness.

Hall (hamstring) didn't practice Friday morning and for the third straight day this week he was on the rehab field. But he wouldn't rule himself out of a second straight game Sunday (4:05 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) in Jacksonville.

For the third straight day Clements (calf) was nowhere to be found outside and for the first time this week appeared briefly in the locker room before Friday's practice. After starting his first game at safety after 161 starts at corner last week, Clements looks like he may not be able to follow up what was a gutty and effective performance, considering he got hurt early and played 96 percent of the snaps.

Head coach Marvin Lewis offered no clues after Friday's practice, but he seems to be looking at a lineup with just two healthy corners, Terence Newman and Adam Jones. He did stress with a smile that there are no corners or safeties, "just defensive backs. Like linebackers and defensive linemen."

That may mean safeties Chris Crocker, Reggie Nelson and Jeromy Miles can play the inside slot receiver, otherwise known as the slot corner. And as for Crocker playing Sunday after his second practice, Lewis, "He's not here not to play."

» Right end Michael Johnson (foot) went limited and was deemed probable. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth (knee), left end Carlos Dunlap (knee), and safety Reggie Nelson (shoulder), all went full Friday and are probable.

» Safety Chris Crocker emerged from Thursday's practice energized after his first football work in more than eight months. He says he knows 90 percent of the playbook and says his wind was fine but he doesn't know what his role is on Sunday.

"I'm playing because that's why I'm here," he said.

Talk about being on the same page.

» Ed Hochuli has gone from doing pushups to working Sunday's game in Jacksonville as the league's most high-profile ref makes his debut in Bengals-Jaguars. Lewis applauded the settlement bringing back the regular refs and lauded Hochuli as a guy known "for keeping control" of the game. 

» The National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio is calling for a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms in Jacksonville on Sunday with a game-time  temperature of 84 degrees and winds out of the east at four miles per hour.

BRAT SIGHTING: After 162 games of calling plays for the Bengals, Bob Bratkowski ends up calling one against them Sunday (4:05 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) as the new Jaguars offensive coordinator.

It has been merely a year and half since the Bengals let Bratkowski go in the wake of the 4-12 season in 2010, and when he sat down with the Jaguars defensive guys this week to go over this edition of the Bengals, he was shocked to see there were no receivers from his Cincinnati days left on the roster and that left tackle Andrew Whitworth, right tackle Andre Smith, tight end Jermaine Gresham, and fullback Chris Pressley are the only starters that played for him.

"That's amazing. Things change quickly in the NFL," Bratkowski said this week from Jacksonville.

And, he has to admit, it has changed well for both sides. Bratkowski is getting the chance to work with his best friend in the business, Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey, and the Jaguars are winning praise for how they've handled second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

"Maybe it was time to move on. Ten years in one place is a long time in this league," Bratkowski said. "I didn’t think that way when it happened. But in hindsight, maybe. I was able to spend a year in Atlanta (coaching quarterbacks) working with Matt Ryan, who is just a great guy and an amazing player. And now I'm here with Mike living on the beach and only a few hours away from where I'm going to retire, working with a good, young quarterback and it's exciting to be around a team with a new owner."

And he likes the new quarterback the Bengals have in Andy Dalton and even though Bratkowski doesn’t know these receivers, he's been impressed with the depth.

"It looks like it worked out for everybody," Bratkowski said.

He compares what is happening in Jacksonville to what he faced in his first three years with the Bengals. Hired by Dick LeBeau, retained by Marvin Lewis and entrusted with a fleet of young, inexperienced receivers, it all came down to what Bratkowski and his coaches could get out of a top 10 quarterback.

And now here it is 10 years later.

"He's gotten better,"  Bratkowski said of Gabbert. "It's a lot like what happened when I got to Cincinnati. We're kind of retooling it, changing the culture and it's not an easy or a short process. We've got a ways to go."

But Bratkowski eventually did get big numbers behind quarterback Carson Palmer and while he underwent searing criticism for not being able to maintain those numbers in the last three years with a healthy Palmer, Bratkowski is proud of what he accomplished.

"When I got there, it was a mess," Bratkowski said of an offense that was ranked last in the pass. "I feel like it was a better place when I left than when I got there and I take pride in that. We accomplished some great things with some great players."

On Bratkowski's watch, Palmer set the Bengals single-season passing records, running back Rudi Johnson set the club's single-season rushing record twice and while becoming the first player ever to win four straight conference receiving yardage titles Chad Johnson became the Bengals all-time leading receiver.

"But we didn't win a Super Bowl," Bratkowski said.

It wasn't pretty at the end. The Bengals waited until three weeks after the season to let Bratkowski  go and hire Jay Gruden. But Bratkowski has been able to maintain his good humor when asked about his relationship with Lewis.

"We're mortal enemies," Bratkowski joked. "I've texted him a few times and I'm going to be out there on the field looking to say hello to people before the game."

    

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