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Quick hits: Hall, Clements sit; Lewis tells players to ignore Ref-Gate; Johnson AFC Player of Week

Posted Sep 26, 2012

Updated: 4:25 p.m.

In what has to be seen as a scary development for the Bengals secondary, starting cornerbacks Leon Hall and Nate Clements weren't on the practice field Wednesday. 

Hall has suddenly gone from thinking he could play last Sunday to a game-time scratch to calling himself day-to-day before Wednesday's practice and then he was on the side rehabbing Wednesday. Indicating that this injury may not be resolved quickly, the body part changed on Wednesday's report. An MRI revealed the injury was in the same area, but is a hamstring issue and not a calf poblem.

Last week Hall missed Thursday and Friday, but stayed on the field and didn't rehab, so his status is murky at best.

And Clements wasn't anywhere to be found after he was seen leaving Paul Brown Stadium on Monday with a walking boot and on Wednesday he was on the report with a calf injury. Clements is just off making the switch to safety, where he made his first NFL start after 161 at corner. So the secondary could be undergoing changes. Cornerback Jason Allen (thigh), who would start if both were out, was limited but it's believed that's a precaution since he played on it for the first time all season last Sunday.

Also not working was running back Bernard Scott (ankle), also on the side rehabbing after he played his first game following seven weeks on the shelf with a broken hand. Rookie cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) has stepped up his rehab to vigorous and hasn't been ruled out yet for Sunday (4:05 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) in Jacksonville, but it's believed he won't play for at least another month.

Left tackle Andrew Whitworth (knee) didn't go and that was also thought to be precautionary. Tight end Donald Lee (quad) also didn't go.

Along with Allen, safety Reggie Nelson (shoulder) dinged on the last play of Sunday's game, was limited, as were center Jeff Faine (hamstring) and left end Carlos Dunlap (knee) after he took 45 snaps in Sunday's first outing of the season. He indicated before Wednesday's practice he's fine.

» For the Jaguars, a pair of starting offensive lineman that missed the last two games with ankle injuries, right tackle Cam Bradfield and left guard Eben Britton, returned to the field Wednesday. Bradfield was full and Britton was limited.   

» The Bengals treated Ref-Gate Wednesday with a shrug and Que Sera Sera and for good reason. Here's how head coach Marvin Lewis advised him team to treat it:

"I told our guys to shut up. It's not your business," Lewis said in his Wednesday news conference. "You have no influence on it. You don't need to worry about it. Just play football. You don’t need to talk about it, you don't need to think about it.

"You play football and do it the way we're coaching you to do it and that was my message this morning."

The message got through.

In the storm of all the criticism, Whitworth, the Bengals player rep to the NFL Players Association, isn't looking for a fight.

"I think it's tough to criticize too much of that because I think it's guys who weren't necessarily prepared, didn't have as much preparation as the normal refs do," Whitworth said. "So it's hard to criticize either way. You just encourage that they get the deal done and let's get football played and called the way it should be.

"You have to play the game. You can be as mad as you want to at the refs or not, but Sunday at four o'clock we're going to have to play the Jacksonville Jaguars and we're going to have to try to beat them. So all that other stuff doesn't really matter."
 
Which is basically the mindset of right end Michael Johnson, freshly named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. 
 
"The (replacement refs) have been great with me. You should never let a game get down to where one play decides the game. That's not on the refs," Johnson said. "There are plenty of calls in the game that can go other ways. It just so happened that call was at the end of the game. That's no different than any other call that could have gone either way."

Johnson says he's not upset with the replacement refs.

"Don't let the game be that close and you won't have that problem," Johnson said. "You play football. If you do your job … I'm sure they'll go back and see there's plenty of things that they could have done differently before that to where it wouldn't get to that."

Hall has seen all kinds of close plays no matter who is officiating.

"It's tough either way. You can get arguments on either side," Hall said. "What's called was called ... just like any play or any other year."

Hall has been nabbed on some questionable calls, a pass interference and a head-to-head hit, but when asked if the replacement refs are letting more go, he says it depends.

"I think we've just adjusted to them," Hall said. "It depends who you get. Regardless of my opinion, they'll be out there and flags will be thrown one way or the other and you can argue with them or not argue wth them; they're not going to pick up the flag for that reason."

» Bengals left end Carlos Dunlap knows all about defending NFL rushing champ Maurice Jones-Drew even before Sunday's game Dunlap worked out with the 5-7, 210-pound fireplug during the offseason, and suggested the Bengals use 6-1, 300-pound Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins as the scout team running back so they can prepare for Jones-Drew's short stature and powerful body.

"They're about the same guy," Dunlap said with a smile.

Dunlap says he and MJD spend a lot of time playing Madden and he says Jones-Drew plays the game like he does in real life and uses the best running backs and running teams.

"That's how he plays in real life, so that's how you're supposed to play in the real game," Dunlap said.

» Johnson led the defensive line’s charge in last Sunday's 38-31 win at Washington, logging three sacks of Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III for 17 yards to win the AFC award. He was also credited by coaches with five additional QB pressures. His seven tackles tied for the line lead, and for the second straight game, he led the line in snaps played (67).

Johnson has 4.0 sacks on the season, tied for third-most in the NFL, and he leads the line in tackles (14). He also has a fumble recovery.

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