Friday update: All probable; Battle of 'Bama; Sack search


Andre Smith

Updated: 1:40 p.m.

The Bengals looked to be in fine fettle when they took the field Friday morning in Paul Brown Stadium with all players available this week listed as probable.

Even Pat Sims (elbow) after he didn't practice Friday for the first time this week. Fellow defensive linemen Robert Geathers (shoulder) and Jon Fanene (knee) were out there full go after being limited Wednesday and Thursday. Special-teamer Jeromy Miles (groin) and fellow safety Gibril Wilson (knee) were on the field after not practicing Thursday and also were full go.

For the Bills three backups were declared out and starting right guard Kraig Urbik (knee) was doubtful after practicing for the first time all week and was limited.

SLANTS AND SCREENS

» It can't happen very often. Right tackle Andre Smith is pitted Sunday against a guy he played with in in high school (Huffman in Birmingham, Ala.) and college at Alabama in prized rookie left end Marcell Dareus. Dareus, the third pick in the past draft, has been an impact player for the Bills and along with offseason pickup Nick Barnett at outside linebacker has been a major reason Buffalo is better against the run than when Bengals running back Cedric Benson went for 124 yards against the Bills last year.

Smith, two years older than Dareus, even went against him some in practice at high school and college but he says that won't help Sunday.

"I know him and have seen him around, but I haven't gone against him for, what, three years?" Smith said. "I get that off film and he's doing a good job. He's a good guy that's doing the right things for his team."

Smith says the matchup doesn't raise the boiling point any more than it would already be. As the sixth pick in the '09 draft that is finally healthy enough to string together a month in the regular season, Smith is just trying to get better Dareus or no Dareus. He's coming off a game in which he graded highly.

"I'm working on something different every day; I think it's coming along real well," Smith said. "I'm trying to be more consistent in my technique."

Come to think of it, Smith has never been out there when Dareus plays a game, so he's not sure if he's a talker or how he's going to approach him.

"He's athletic  and strong with real quick moves,"  he said.

» Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been expansive in his praise of Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis for sticking with him during the tough 2008 season. With Carson Palmer on the shelf for all but four games with an elbow injury, Fitzpatrick struggled in losing his first four starts before leading the Bengals to a 4-3-1 finish. He had eight touchdown passes in those 12 games and he's got nine already now.

"He understood the importance of that position and taking care of the football and making first downs and moving the team," Lewis said after Friday's practice. "I thought he did a good job on how he handled the situation. We probably as coaches didn't do a good enough job of adjusting to Ryan as a football team. He settled in and he didn't have to press. That's the thing he learned through developing  is not to press, just let it happen. Let the game come to him."

» Left end Carlos Dunlap is still looking for his first sack of the season after setting the Bengals rookie record last year when he got 9.5 sacks in the last eight games. The only guy he didn't get at least half a sack against was Fitzpatrick and he won't be an easy target again even though Dunlap has come tantalizingly close in the first three games. Fitzpatrick has been sacked just twice.

"He does a really good job getting rid of the ball quickly," Dunlap said. "We're known for getting pressure on the quarterback and not letting make easy throws and we're going to have to try and keep doing that no matter how quick the throws."

The last time the Bengals beat the Bills was Jan. 8, 1989 in the AFC title game and Dunlap was born a month later.

"Maybe that's the key to trying to end their streak," Dunlap said.

Rookies Robert Sands, Clint Boling and Ryan Whalen were also born later that year.

» It will be a little nippy at PBS on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio. It is calling for Sunday's game-time temperature in the mid-50s with a high of 60 under mostly sunny skies and winds out of the northwest at 10 to 15 miles per hour with zero percent chance of rain.

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