Updated: 3:30 p.m.
With the Bengals hosting their third straight game at Paul Brown Stadium 1 p.m. Sunday in a pivotal AFC North match against the Ravens, the National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio is calling for no chance of rain with partly sunny skies and game-time temperatures in the mid 60s with winds out of the south at about 10 miles per hour.
It is the first time in 11 years the Bengals have played three straight at home and the first at PBS. They did it once at Nippert Stadium and 10 times at Riverfront Stadium. They are trying to go 2-1 for the third time. They went 3-0 five times, 1-2 three times and only got swept in 1998 to Baltimore, Jacksonville and Buffalo.
DÉJÀ VU? When he heard that wide receiver
Crocker was a member of the Browns secondary that got a Chad Johnson package full of Pepto Bismol back in 2004 the week Cleveland ended up holding Johnson to three catches and 37 yards in a 34-17 victory.
“All you’ve got to do is check the stats,” said Crocker as he was asked if the gesture pumped up that Browns team. “Yeah, I just hope it doesn’t pump up Baltimore. That’s all I hope. Knowing the kind of defense they are I’m sure there will be motivation.”
SHIP SHAPE: The team that ended last season with 23 players on injured reserve had everyone suited up Friday for what looked to be a full practice. Not only are the Bengals healthy, it is probably the healthiest they’ve ever been for one of Marvin Lewis’ 104 games as Bengals head coach.
“I don’t think I’ve ever written down 61 guys starting practice,” he said after the 53 active players and eight practice-squad players worked out on the PBS field.
Still, rookie right tackle
All other Bengals are probable, including fullback
45 GAME: If you want to continue the 45-player-Game-day-activation game, one of the guys that figures to be down is newly-signed fullback
“Very well, exceptional,” Lewis said. “His retention of the things we did in training camp is good. A lot of the things we did in training camp we didn’t do in the preseason games but we’re doing now. We did spend a lot of time on them in training camp knowing they would be a big part of the things we were going to do down the line. Just having a good grounded understanding of the fundamentals is helpful. And he’s a hard-working guy who understands football. He studies.”
Lewis is also impressed with the 10 pounds Vakapuna has put on, making him 6-0, 270 pounds while still retaining the nimbleness running and catching that convinced the Bengals to take him with a seventh-round pick out of BYU back in April.
“That’s a big man," Lewis said. “He had to make the transition from a ball-carrier runner in college to a lead-back type of guy. So you gain the skills of him being able to catch and run, now the other part is how to explode and roll your hips as you block and I think he’s done well with that.”