Green limited; Dalton limited but doesn't look serious; Dunlap sits; A rush vs. Browns


A.J. Green

Updated: 5:15 p.m.

Even though quarterback Andy Dalton emerged from Wednesday's practice listed as limited with a right shoulder problem, indications are it isn't serious enough to keep him out of Sunday's game against the Browns (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's WLW-AM 700) at Paul Brown Stadium. He still went about his usual Wednesday duties, including his weekly news conference, as well as his early practice regimen that included throwing.

Although the Bengals had a long list of "limited" players Wednesday, the fact they were on the field the first day of the practice week points to encouraging signs, including wide receiver A.J. Green.

Green, a leading candidate for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year when he hyperextended his right knee 10 days ago against the Steelers, says he's taking it day-by-day as he prepared and on Wednesday he went through the early normal practice routine. Green is hoping in Sunday's game that he and Dalton finish an AFC North game for the first time together. Dalton missed the second half of the Bengals Opening Day victory in Cleveland with a bruised right wrist and Green has missed the last six quarters against Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

"Playing football people get hurt, but I hope we can be back this week," said Green, who said he has done some running.

Also working was tight end Donald Lee (foot), who has missed the last two games, also listed as limited. So was cornerback Adam Jones (groin), right end Michael Johnson (shoulder), and left tackle Andrew Whitworth (thigh).

But left end Carlos Dunlap, who played less than 100 percent with a hamstring problem in Baltimore, didn't practice. Neither did safety Chris Crocker and cornerback Nate Clements, the defense's two oldest players who usually get Wednesdays off with knees. Defensive tackle Domata Peko (foot) didn't work and neither did cornerback Brandon Ghee (groin).

Green still has a 45-yard lead on Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith for the league lead among rookie receivers, and it was the opener he made his presence felt even though he caught just one. but it was the winner, a 41-yard touchdown from backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski off a quick snap with 4:28 left in the game. It ended a ferocious duel with second-year cornerback Joe Haden on a day he had a career-high five passes defensed.

"I think he's just a good cover guy. He really doesn't come up there and try to challenge you that much," Green said. "But you have to run precise routes because he's going to be on you in and out of your breaks so you have to run good routes."

Former Bengals safety Dick Jauron, who happens to be the Browns defensive coordinator, had to deal with Green and Haden in his Wednesday news conference in Cleveland. He's not going to say if it's Haden and Green one-on-one.

"He's a top receiver in the league and he's got great speed; we'll have to see what his status is," Jauron said. "Coming in we are going to assume that he's going to play. You can do a lot of different things. You can match in specific instances, you can not match other times, you can do a lot of things with the corner and with that situation in terms of matching or not matching.

"You don't have to have match on every down. You probably just have to match enough to mix it up so you don't only match in a certain defense because they will certainly pick that up in a hurry. If you only match in man to man, it's probably not a good idea, but you can do a number of different things." » For the eighth time in the last nine home games, the Bengals didn't sell out Sunday with the lone exception the Steelers game 10 days ago.

Left tackle Andrew Whitworth didn't seem very surprised.

"Not really," he said. "Even the Pittsburgh game. I think we only sold out because how many daggone Pittsburgh fans came. We want the people that want to watch us play and want to root us on. That's all that matters. It doesn't matter how many of them it is."

» Safety Taylor Mays got some national love for his terrific hit on kickoff cover in Baltimore from SI's Peter King. Mays' take: "I'm 240 pounds. If I don't hit like that, they say I can't hit."

Mays has wasted no time being a factor on special teams. Since he started playing five games ago, he's got four special teams tackles. He's playing on kick cover and punt return and says it's the most special teams he's ever played in his life at any level.

"Oh yeah I like it; I like playing," said Mays, who also said Darrin Simmons is the best special teams coach he's ever had.

"Most detailed guy I've been around," he said.

» Why does the Bengals running game seem to be hitting stride right about now? Since the Browns came back into the NFL in 1999, the Bengals have had 57 100-yard rushers. A total of 15 have been against Cleveland. In the 17 games Marvin Lewis has coached against Cleveleland, the Bengals have had 10 100-yard rushers. Plus, five of the top 14 Bengals rushing games of all-time have been against the 21st century Browns.

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