Update: Crocker to work out; Miles claimed; CB situation cloudy

Posted Sep 23, 2013

A few slants and screens from Monday.

Chris Crocker

Updated: 6:15 p.m.

With the Ravens claiming safety Jeromy Miles off waivers and cornerback Leon Hall hurting with a hamstring injury, it's believed the Bengals plan to host another round of tryouts for free-agent defensive backs.

And one of them is an old friend.

It’s believed safety Chris Crocker, the man who came off the bench to rescue the Bengals a year ago this week, is up for an encore and is going to try out Tuesday. Crocker, 33, signed last Sept. 27 after not being here in the spring and training camp and picked off a ball that Sunday in Jacksonville. After being the starter from 2008-2011, he played in 13 games with nine starts last year before missing the Wild Card playoff with an injury.

Miles, the top returning Bengals special teams player, has been hampered by a hamstring injury and has missed the last two games. He played just six snaps in the opener and his gunner duties have been rotated among several because of the spate of secondary injuries. He came into the season with 35 special teams tackles in 38 games.

The Bengals needed his spot on the roster to deal with the corner injuries, which has apparently grown to include Hall. The Bengals were in a similar situation last year with injuries across the secondary when they turned to Crocker.

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said Monday that Hall, the team's most versatile corner, is "partly cloudy" with a sore hamstring. Crocker's value lies in his ability to play both safety and the slot. Hall, who held Packers slot receiver Randall Cobb to five catches for 54 yards in one of the most brilliant performances of his career, missed the last 13 plays after he got hurt blocking downfield on cornerback Terence Newman's 58-yard fumble recovery.

He had played all 68 before then and Newman finished playing all 81 and third corner Adam Jones played all but one against the Packers no-huddle nickel package.

So who's left? Brandon Ghee (concussion) basically hasn't practiced for a month and Dre Kirkpatrick (hamstring) didn’t practice at all last week before being inactive. Chris Lewis-Harris (11) and Curtis Marsh (6), brought in to beef up the spot last week, took only snaps on special teams. Ghee and Kirkpatrick are the slot corners backing up Hall and in the last series the Bengals had to turn to safety Taylor Mays.

Also compounding problems in the secondary is that third corner Adam Jones was cited wiith disorderly conduct Monday morning, the news breaking shortly after defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer said Jones might have played his best game as a Bengal in Sunday's 80-snap effort during the 34-30 win over the Packers. According to Pro Footballl Talk, the Ohio State Highway Patrol told WCPO in Cincinnati that Jones was cited for disorderly conduct after a car he was a passenger in was pulled over at about 2:30 a.m. and was released on his own recognizance.

» Sunday's fourth-quarter comeback doesn't count on quarterback Andy Dalton's record because the winning points were scored on a defensive play, cornerback Terence Newman's 58-yard fumble recovery with 3:47 left. So while Dalton has five game-winning drives in a fourth quarter the Bengals trailed or were tied, the Bengals now have six fourth-quarter comebacks in his 35 games as the starter.

» Dalton is 21-14 as a starter. Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers was 19-16 in his first 35 games as a starter.

» In three games the Bengals have six touchdown drives of at least 80 yards and they're on pace to pass the 19 they had combined in the previous two seasons with nine in 2011 and 10 in 2013.

» Mike Nugent missed his first extra point since 2011 when Packers first-round pick Datone Jones, a defensive end from UCLA, slithered to the outside of guard Clint Boling and blocked it to keep it a 30-27 game.

» Rookie running back Jonathan Franklin's 103-yard game off the bench on just 13 carries was the first 100-yard game against the Bengals in the regular season in 11 months, since Jonathan Dwyer of the Steelers went for 122 back on Oct. 21 last season in Pittsburgh's 24-17 win at Paul Brown Stadium. The last 100-yard game the Bengals have allowed to a non-Jonathan running back is erstwhile Browns running back Trent Richardson, who had 109 in the second week of the season. The Bengals go to Cleveland next week, but don’t see Richardson until the Colts come to town Dec. 8.

» Franklin's big run, a 51-yarder, was the longest against the Bengals since Ravens running back Ray Rice went 70 yards in the first two minutes of the '11 season finale and he tacked on a 51-yarder later that day. The longest runs against the Bengals since then before Sunday were 32-yarders by Dwyer and Richardson in their 100-yard games.

Safety Reggie Nelson took the blame and he did miss Franklin at the second level. But the two second-year tackles, Devon Still and Brandon Thompson let him get there when they were washed out of the play and opened up the middle on Franklin's cutback.


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