BY GEOFF HOBSON
GEORGETOWN, Ky. _ Bengals defensive line coach Tim Krumrie is more like a chemist these days as he searches for the combination that will give them a pass rush. A pass rush that was nowhere to be found last Friday night in Atlanta when Falcons quarterbacks Chris Chandler and Danny Kanell threw for 362 yards.
The Bengals have two sacks in two preseason games they have played without starting tackle Tom Barndt (chest) and the first man off the bench in end Michael Bankston (knee and calf) and Krumrie knows he needs pressure up the middle. But Saturday night against the Bears, he's going to see what he has on the corner for a rush. For the first time, he'll see what outside linebackers Steve Foley, Adrian Ross and Canute Curtis can do against a first offense.
"Foley and Ross played pretty well in the second half," Krumrie said. "I backed off Canute because he had (a sore groin). I want to get them into the mix right away Saturday. I want to see what they can do against so-called first-teamers. We've got talent, it's just a matter of getting it in the right spot at the right time. Trying to find the right combinations."
Veteran end John Copeland won't point to his sore ankle and position switch as reasons why he's been sluggish getting to the quarterback. Most of the time in passing downs, he has been rushing from the right side for the first time in eight NFL seasons. That means he's putting a different hand on the ground.
"I'm more comfortable than I was, but I'm still getting used to it," Copeland said. "I've been playing too long to blame something like that on a switching sides. I think it's just a matter of finishing. We're right there, right there next to the quarterback and we're not getting him. We just have to get off that block at the end of the play."
The Bengals are still waiting for a breakout game from end Reinard Wilson in his first games since making the switch from outside linebacker. Wilson has been the speed rusher in the nickel (passing down) package for the first unit. Foley, or Ross or Curtis will try to make some noise.
"I love Steve Foley's potential," Krumrie said. "He's got a great getoff and he can burst up the field. He's got a real good push outside." Krumrie thinks Ross and Wilson are similar in that they can get around the corner, but "Ross has a true pass rush move. He's got a nice rip (hand move). Reinard has a nice getoff and gets up the field and what he does well is jerk back underneath."
MYERS SETTLEMENT NEAR: Free safety Greg Myers, who has made 34 starts and 212 tackles for the Bengals in the past four seasons, said today he's nearing an injury settlement with the team that will lead to his release. Myers tore a tendon in his kneecap 10 days ago in Buffalo and says he's not ready to play. But he knows the Bengals are looking for roster space when they cut to 65 players in eight days.
"They've been good to me. I can't argue about that at all," said Myers, a fifth-round pick out of Colorado State. "I consider (Bengals President) Mike Brown a friend no matter what they do. They have two options. They can settle or put me on injured reserve (for the entire season). The best thing for me would be to settle and that would allow me to get healthy and if another team wanted to pick me up, they could."
Myers, who signed a two-year deal before the season, knew competition would be tough this season. He was replaced in the starting lineup by rookie Cory Hall in last season's fifth game and then the club signed free safety Darryl Williams during the offseason before moving Hall to strong safety.
"Maybe they want to go in a different direction," Myers said. "But the coaching staff has been good to me."
BEAN PROMOTION?: Third cornerback Rodney Heath has been downgraded from probable to questionable for Saturday's game with a right shoulder sprain. That means he's 50-50 to play, which means there's a 50-50 chance rookie cornerback Robert Bean gets the call on the first defense's passing down (nickel) package.
"We've already moved him to second team, now he'd be the first nickel if Rodney can't play," said secondary coach Ray Horton. "Robert's done an outstanding job. He's made plays in practice and games and this is his reward for hard work and effort."
Bean intercepted Kanell in the end zone Friday, but then got beat for a 14-yard touchdown pass late in the game: "He should have looked for the ball sooner and should have been off (the receiver), but those things are going to happen. You look at the whole season, the whole camp and the guy has produced."
Look for second-round pick Mark Roman to get his first extensive action since ending his holdout last week. Roman, the fith cornerback behind rookie free agent Brian Gray played about five snaps at the end of Friday's game. Horton said he'll play half the game Saturday and probably three quarters in the Aug. 25 preseason finale.
"We'll try to give (Bean, Gray, Roman) an equal number of snaps," Horton said. "(Roman) is a little behind mentally. Physically he's fine. He's on page two, not page one yet, but he will be soon."
INJURY UPDATE: WR Craig Yeast (knee) has a little tendinitis, but nothing serious. . .SS JoJuan Armour (groin), DT Tim Barndt (chest), LB Alan Buckwaler (hamstring), CB Sirr Parker (hamstring) are out for Saturday.