Notes: Ocho's 10,000 run; Smith hitting; Roy working

Posted Nov 2, 2009

Updated: 11-3-09 12:20  a.m.

Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco heads into the last nine games of the season needing just 522 yards to become the 33rd player with 10,000 yards receiving in his career. At his current pace of 82 yards per game he’ll get it Dec. 20 in San Diego.

When he makes the list, he’ll be just the sixth player with 10,000 yards that has just one team next to his name.

Marvin Harrison, fourth all-time with 14,580 yards, did it in all 13 seasons with the Colts. Steve Largent, 11th all-time with 13,089, got them all with Seattle in 14 seasons. Michael Irvin of the Cowboys is No. 17 with 11,904 in 12 seasons and Rod Smith of Denver is 19th with 11,359 in 12 years. Hines Ward is the lone active 10,000-yard man with one club at No. 32 with 10,382 yards during 12 seasons with the Steelers.

The Ocho’s 9,478 in nine seasons is 36th on the all-time list.

SMITH IN CONTACT: The Bengals returned from their four-day hiatus on bye weekend in a Monday morning practice across the street from Paul Brown Stadium, where rookie right tackle Andre Smith says he began hitting.

"It feels good to get back in the swing of things," said Smith, indicating it was his first contact since breaking his foot Sept. 1. "I'm not that far away, but it's up to the coaches and not to me."

He said the two things he has to do to get on the field is keep up with his technique and the playbook. And one of the reasons the Bengals drafted Smith is because they feel he's got a very high football I.Q. Take this answer about his massive ability to run block even if he doesn't know all of the playbook:

"True," he said, "but on defense one player can make a great play to change the game. On offense if one player messes up you can change the game, so we have to learn to play as a unit."

The on-field chemistry building Smith missed during his four-week holdout and then rehabbing from his injury hasn't seemed to hurt him in the locker room. He sprung for one of those lounge chairs for the offensive line meeting room and he was a good sport about last week's pricey rookie dinner at The Waterfront that he and center Jonathan Luigs had to foot.

The vets didn't go through with their plan to scare Smith by faking the purchase of some ultra expensive items because, as left tackle Andrew Whitworth said, "He was already nervous."  

INJURY UPDATE: Also Monday, safety Roy Williams strapped on his helmet for the first time since Oct. 11 to practice. Williams, who has missed three of the last four games with a badly bruised forearm, last played against the Ravens in a game he appeared sparingly in the second half.

Not practicing were the guys who suffered knee injuries in last week's win over the Bears. Fullback Jeremi Johnson was nowhere to be seen, but running back Bernard Scott looked good in rehab drills on the side.

Johnson later surfaced in the locker room with an ice pack on his knee and said he'll be ready for Sunday. Scott said he'll be able to practice Wednesday.


» What's changed in the 22 days since the Bengals beat the Ravens in the last minute in Baltimore? The Ravens are back on the winning track after Sunday's win over unbeaten Denver using their old formula of running, defense and special teams.

Think it's going to be a smashmouth affair at PBS Sunday? Both head coaches preach running the ball and stopping the run. And look at the NFL rankings. The Bengals are ninth in the NFL running the ball and the Ravens are 10th. The Bengals are fifth stopping the run and the Ravens fourth.

Which means the Ravens look to be going back to their roots on the heels of running back Ray Rice’s 84 rushing yards and a defensive effort that limited the Broncos to 3.5 yards per carry.

“Obviously those are the things that lead to being successful,” said head coach Marvin Lewis after Monday’s practice. “They were able to get their running game going yesterday and it made a big difference in their game. That’s how they were successful a year ago. They’ve  got a great back in Rice and that’s one the things they want to get done.”

Quarterback Carson Palmer watched the Ravens beat Denver and came away impressed, but not surprised. “They looked good. It looked like they had a bye and found something,” he said.

When told it looked like the Ravens had found their old formula, Palmer said, “We’ll see this week. They looked really good.”

Bengals running back Cedric Benson lost his NFL rushing lead to Tennessee running back Chris Johnson's 228-yard day Sunday and now trails him by 104 yards (824-720). Each have played seven games. Benson is now in fourth with St. Louis's Steven Jackson and  Minnesota's Adrian Peterson tied for second with 784 yards. Jackson also eclipsed Benson by one (165-164) for the carries lead and Peterson is right there with 163. They both have byes this week.

» By the way, Palmer joked about the glove he’s wearing on his left hand to protect his sprained thumb that he says will undergo postseason surgery. That’s the hand he has used to give the ball to Benson. Ever since he hurt it against Baltimore, the running game has been potent.

“It’s really not Cedric or the O-line. It’s me,” joked Palmer of his glove.

Seriously, he said he’s not sure if he’ll wear the glove the rest of the season: “We’ll see as we go.”

» Here is an example where the passer rating stat can be a fraud. According to STATS Inc., the Bengals’ 54 points during the last two minutes of a half leads the NFL by a wide margin.  The Saints, with 41, are the only other team with at least 40 points in this category. Likewise, Cincy’s 31 points in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter far exceeds any other team’s output. The Chiefs are second with 19 points in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter. But Palmer is ranked 23rd in NFL fourth-quarter passing with a 77.6 rating.

» Left tackle Andrew Whitworth and wife Melissa spent the bye week visiting New York City and 5-2 must be good because the Whitworths were able to secure tickets for Game 2 of the World Series last Thursday.

“We were about 15 rows back from third base and the atmosphere was great. I mean, it is Yankee Stadium,” he said. “That’s the big difference between baseball and football. Baseball is all about atmosphere. The crowd really wasn’t into it until the end. In football, it’s the crowd. The closest thing to a baseball stadium is Lambeau Field.”





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