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Options mulled for limping DBs; Jones headed to surgery; Extension in air?; Benson meets Ricky

Posted Oct 27, 2010

Updated: 6 p.m.

Quick hits to start off the practice week. (Don’t forget to wrap.)

A day after putting third cornerback Adam Jones (neck) on injured reserve, his replacement and the two starters sat out Wednesday's practice. Also not practicing were safeties Roy Williams and Chinedum Ndukwe, as well as backup WILL linebacker Brandon Johnson (knee). Running back Brian Leonard (thigh), who missed all last week as well as the game, was back on the field and practiced full go.

Johnathan Joseph (ankle), the starting left cornerback, said before the workout that he thinks he's "very close, but I'll run around today to see where I am." Head coach Marvin Lewis said he would be "limited," and he wasn't dressed. Leon Hall (hamstring), the other starting cornerback who is the AFC co-leader with four interceptions with Titans safety Michael Griffin, and Jones' replacement, Morgan Trent (knee) worked on the side and did not practice.

Secondary coach Kevin Coyle declared after practice Wednesday that "the cupboard isn't bare," but admited he's got several plans on the books dependng on how the injured players progress. Safety Chris Crocker has played some cornerback and safety Tom Nelson played some cornerback in the nickel (pass defense) last year as a rookie. Reggie Nelson, acquired from Jacksonville in a Cutdown Day trade, played his most significant number of snaps from scrimmage last Sunday.

The Bengals will see how the week develops before they opt to fill Adam Jones' spot. Head coach Marvin Lewis indicated they would do it via the practice squad, where first-year safety Rico Murray and rookie safety Jeromy Miles are the only DBs on the practice squad. Murray, from Kent State via Cincinnati's Moeller High School who played in five games last season that included the postseason, has played all three spots: Corner, safety, nickel corner.

"In an emergency, veterns like Chris are valuable because of their experiene playing nickel and corner," Coyle said. "Sometimes you hope it doesn't come to that, but we've had guys do it."

Coyle says the two practice squaders have "shown a lot of improvement," and while Reggie Nelson has impressed in practice, "he needs to get more consistent and more comfortable in our scheme."

"We'll be OK," Coyle said. "We'll figure out how to put them in the best situation we can."

» Also limited Wednesday was tackle Andre Smith (ankle) after he played the first full game of his career Sunday.  

» Defensive end Jonathan Fanene has already been declared out for this week's game with a hamstring injury. He missed four games due to the hamstring injury suffered in the season opener before returning to action last Sunday in Atlanta.

Williams (knee) has been saddled for three weeks and doesn't look close, while Ndukwe is nursing a knee injury according to the injury report.

Lewis said in his Wednesday news conference that Jones should recover from his surgery for the herniated neck disc that ended his season Sunday. He indicated that his roster spot could be filled by the end of the week from the practice squad, but the club first has to review the injury situation.

» Andrew Brown of the Bengals ticket office said Wednesday that the response has been good enough that there is a possibility the Bengals are going to get a one-day extension from the NFL to sell out Sunday's 1 p.m. game against Miami as they attempt to extend their sellout streak to 56.

» A matchup of great Texas running backs looms Sunday when the Bengals’ Cedric Benson meets his Austin predecessor in the Dolphins’ Ricky Williams. While Williams remains his idol, Benson admitted Wednesday he unwittingly gave him some pain, too, during the draft process in 2005, six years after Williams came out.

Benson doesn’t know if it’s because they had similar hair styles or similar running styles, but he says NFL teams wanted to know if he had the same outlook and flaws that Williams had off-the-field.

“It was really ridiculous,” Benson said. “But I guess that’s just the way the world is, huh? Whatever it may be, it was quite childish the questions in reference to what he was doing.”

Benson said the same questions also followed him in team interviews after he got released by the Bears before the 2008 season and before he landed in Cincinnati. But Benson says Williams was a big reason he went to Texas. He couldn’t take his eyes off him as he grew up in Midland, Texas, following the Longhorns.

“I looked up to him. He was an idol of mine in high school. He still is,” Benson said. “He played a large role in me going to Texas. The things I saw him doing I saw myself doing some of the same things. It was big-time stuff watching Texas when I was in high school.”

They aren’t close friends and Benson thinks the last time they talked was over the phone a year or two ago, but he’s extremely excited about Sunday because of the matchup.

“He didn’t know he was doing it,” said Benson of Williams recruiting him to Texas. “He didn’t have to (talk to him). He did it all on the field. Seeing that style of football. Between the tackles, power, speed. Able to make moves in open space. Run through arm tackles.”

» Quarterback Carson Palmer on Vikings quarterback Brett Favre’s record of consecutive games started that is in jeopardy: “The greatest record in sports.”

» Lewis is raving about how wide receiver Terrell Owens exhibited tenacity and leadership when the Bengals fell behind, 24-3, last Sunday in Atlanta.

“He’s played as well as we can expect. He keeps getting better at minimizing the mistakes we had earlier in the year,” Lewis said. “It speaks to his professionalism, which has been good. Obviously his physical abilities are outstanding and he’s a good leader. At halftime the way we were down, there was no doubt in his mind that we could come back and win the game. He’s one of those guys that says, ‘Get on my back. Let me do it.’ We need more of those guys to step up that way.”

» For the second straight Tuesday, Lewis spent a chunk of his afternoon with wide receiver Chad Ochocinco watching tape of the upcoming opponent’s defense. He said The Ocho played his best game of the year after last week’s session.

» For coaches, the no-huddle offense is right there with religion and politics when it comes to topics they like to avoid publicly. That's because of strategy, so when offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski was asked after Wednesday's practice if if the effectiveness of it is going to trump whether it fits the foe or not, he said "we access it every week. It's something you just don't discuss much publicly. As coaches and as an offensive unit, it's something we talk about and deal with."

» Hall says Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall is the best in the NFL at yards after catch.

» If you hang around long enough, you see just about everything.

On Sunday, a guy who just scored his 150th career touchdown, Owens, made the final block on a guy’s first NFL touchdown.

And after thanking him right after the play, rookie wide receiver Jordan Shipley sent a text to Owens later in the day saying it again.

“He said something like, ‘No problem,’ ’’ Shipley said. “It was a great play on his part. I just followed him in.

Shipley’s plan for that first ball?

“Probably just send it to my parents," he said.

 

 

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