Bengals finally see Collins

Posted: 5:40 p.m.

The Bengals go from facing a rookie quarterback to one making his 150th NFL start and second only to Peyton Manning in passing yardage when Kerry Collins gets the start Sunday in place of Vince Young for the Titans at Paul Brown Stadium.

After 14 seasons and 163 games, Collins gets his first shot at the Bengals.

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The Bengals do have to worry about another rookie. Running back Chris Johnson, the first-rounder out of East Carolina, had 93 yards rushing and 34 yards receiving in his debut against the Jags that included a seven-yard touchdown pass from Vince Young in the second quarter before Young went down with a knee injury

"You saw this afternoon that he can carry it inside and outside, he can catch out of the backfield, he can handle screens," Titans head coach Jeff Fisher said. "I wouldn't hesitate to give him the ball in short yardage situations because he's so quick. He's a complete back. Obviously he's a little bit undersized (5-11, 200) but he makes up for it with good speed."

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The Bengals are also expecting to see defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth even though he suffered a concussion on the first play of Sunday's win over Jacksonville. Haynesworth remembers nothing of the game, but the Titans remember that without him last season at PBS the Bengals ran for 148 yards in a 35-6 victory over Tennessee.

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The Bengals had just 50 yards from their running backs in Baltimore and while their offensive line takes a major affront to not being able to get more, the linemen don't believe it's a signal that they're not physical enough.

"Nobody in the league has a more confusing defense than Baltimore," said left guard Andrew Whitworth. "They got us back on our heels a little bit. They got us. We've gotten them in the past. We're going to keep pounding away it. It's what we've been talking about. Maybe only half a man away, on a lot of plays, but we're going to get there."

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The Titans aren't as confusing as the Ravens, but they're just as physical.

"A little different, but very physical, aggressive up front. That's important," said head coach Marvin Lewis at Monday's news conference. "They'll get after you, and they rotate some guys up front. Defensively, they are very, very strong and aggressive up front."

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After watching film Monday, center Eric Ghiaciuc on the failed runs to get fourth-and-one and fourth-and-two: "A few breakdowns in there that we recognize and we'll fix ... I think we've gotten better as a unit. Our communication is better. We know what we have to work on to get better. It's not just one thing, it's a bunch of little things."

At 6-4, 300 pounds, Ghiaciuc takes heat outside the club for not being able to handle the AFC North's hulking nose tackles and Sunday's stat sheet against Haloti Ngata and friends won't enhance it. But Ghiaciuc disputes it and looks forward to the Titanic challenge of Haynesworth.

"I've never been one to get scared of those guys and the offensive line shares those sentiments," he said. "We've never been afraid of anybody. We know we've got a good challenge and at the end of the day we want to feel like we've blocked one of the best defenses in the league. Those people are entitled to their opinion. I know the truth."

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With four teams yet to play, the Bengals are last in the NFL in total offense (154) and passing yards (89).

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Lewis reported virtually nothing on injuries Monday, except for cornerback David Jones' concussion. Safety Dexter Jackson appeared to have broken a thumb during the game and defensive end Frostee Rucker left the locker room Sunday on crutches but indicated it wasn't serious.

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Lewis seemed to puncture the Shaun Alexander stuff, saying he'd be surprised if Alexander would get a call from the Bengals.

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The NFL says Chad Ocho Cinco "has a financial obligation to Reebok, which produces the jerseys available to fans. That has to be resolved before the on-field jersey can be changed."

The working price for a player of such stature is supposedly in the range of half a million dollars, so the next time you ask what's in a name ... .

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