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Bengals Notebook: Estimated Injury Report; Hot Defense Looks To Prevent Miami From Going Long In Short Week

Trey Hendrickson gets one of his two strip-sacks vs. Joe Flacco.
Trey Hendrickson gets one of his two strip-sacks vs. Joe Flacco.

It's a short week at Paycor Stadium with the undefeated Dolphins coming to town Thursday (8:15 p.m.—Cincinnati's Channel 9), so even there was no practice on Monday Bengals nose tackle D.J Reader (knee) was listed on an estimated injury report as did not practice.

He limped off the field in the first half of Sunday's 27-12 win over the Jets into some uncertainty. Right tackle La'el Collins (back) was listed the same way, but there's more known there because he played all 68 snaps after missing every day of practice last week.

Head coach Zac Taylor said running back Joe Mixon (ankle) is good to go after missing the last drive and was listed as limited. That bodes well for linebacker Germaine Pratt (knee) after he sat out Sunday's game and was listed as limited.

Wide receiver Tee Higgins (toe) was also limited and not because of the illegal shot he took in the mouth from safety Lamarcus Joyner at the end of his 45-yard catch. Higgins, who suffered a concussion in the opener, was cleared and went back in.

"They just did his check. No protocol. He responded well once he popped up so they just did the check," Taylor said. "They took him back to the tent and then he was cleared a couple of plays later."

HOW SHORT?: Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, the man of the hour with a defense that hasn't allowed a touchdown in 20 drives, broke down how exactly short the week is as he talked about the fine line of how much he can do schematically.

 If you think tomorrow is Tuesday, think again.

"Tomorrow is Wednesday and Thursday for the players. A normal week for us is Wednesday is first and second down. That's all they have to focus on," Anarumo said.  "Thursday is a review of first and second down and a third down. Friday is red zone, goal line, short yardage. That's the week.

 "So when you only have really one practice where you're really practicing, tomorrow is Wednesday and Thursday combined …  We've got to balance how much we do and what we do. But by the same token, we can't be vanilla. It's an NFL game."

MIAMI-MANIA: And not just any game. The 3-0 Dolphins are here with the fourth best pass offense in the league and the league's fastest receiver-tandem in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Waddle (342) and Hill (317) are second and third in the NFL in receiving yards, respectively, and fourth and 15th in yards after catch. It's an intriguing matchup. The Bengals have missed just four tackles in three games, the second fewest in the NFL, and have allowed the league's tenth fewest air yards.

"Just no explosives," Anarumo said of the one thing they can't let Miami do. "No explosives and keep the turnover thing going. That's the thing. We can't let these guys get over our head."

STAT PACK: Anarumo knocks on wood about that 20-drive stat. But he likes it. The Bengals have allowed the 10th fewest yards in the league, but Anarumo isn't looking at that. He is looking at 55 points allowed, seventh fewest in the NFL.

"It's tough in today's NFL to keep people out of the end zone. But that is our job. No matter where they get the ball, we're going out there to put the fire out in a turnover situation or whatever. That's good to hear," Anarumo said.

TUA TIME: The Bengals are going to get a completely different look at quarterback. The Dolphins have the athletic Tua Tagovailoa and his deadly run-pass options after the Bengals sacked 37-year-old Joe Flacco four times in New York and blitzed him 23 percent of the time, up 10 percent from the season average.

"I just think it was just what our plan was (and) the score," Anarumo said. "(Flacco) is an older quarterback. He doesn't move very good, so we're trying to get him off his spot. Make a move his feet, and so that had more to do with it than maybe the score. We were just able to play the pass more because we were up by so many points.

"(Tua) is on time with some of these RPOs, a lot of what he did in college. The ball's coming out. Then he's been very accurate downfield with some of these throws. He's had a heck of a season so far. … (The linebackers) are put in some difficult spots where they got to be a little bit more top-down on some runs and maybe hold off a few windows there behind them. It creates a little bit of conflict for them for sure."

BACKUPS: If Reader can't go, they'll be looking for an encore from vet nose Josh Tupou and rookie three tech Zach Carter. With 27 snaps Carter got the most work of his career and Tupou delivered a typically solid 33 snaps. Could they dip into the practice squad for Tyler Shelvin or Domenique Davis?

"They were active. Josh is solid as a rock and we know what we're going to get from Josh," Anarumo said. "I thought Zach went in there and battled and we'll decide - I was going to say this week - but today's kind of Thursday in our world. So the next two days (we'll decide) who the other guy will be and see how it goes with DJ here. We still haven't heard anything."

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