With just five sacks in seven games, the Bengals could get a boost in their pass rush by promoting defensive end Eric Henderson from the practice squad. The 6-2, 256-pound Henderson is a second-year NFL player who was a sack specialist at Georgia Tech but has found only hard luck in the pros.
He missed this year's first three preseason games with a hamstring injury and spent all of 2007 on the Reserve/Injured list with a broken wrist. He spent '06 on the practice squad after signing as a free agent out of Tech.
In order to make the move the Bengals placed fullback Reagan Maui'a on season-ending injured reserve after he suffered a hamstring injury in practice Thursday.
He played in two games and was inactive for three other games after being waived by the Dolphins and signed by the Bengals before the season.
"Eric's done a nice job for us; he really has worked," Lewis said in his last news conference. "We've been working with Eric at linebacker over the last three weeks, since Corey (Mays) got injured. Because of the 3-4 teams, we've been using him as one of the outside linebackers."
INJURY UPDATE: Also Friday, Lewis said his team is not as banged up as it was at the beginning of the week.
Antonio Chatman (ankle) returned to a dwindling corps of wide receivers after missing Wednesday and Thursday. He went for a full practice. Jerome Simpson (ankle) and Glenn Holt (unknown) weren't on the field, but Lewis said Holt is OK and Simpson is doubtful. Andre Caldwell (foot) has already been ruled out, but Lewis indicated he could be one of the guys back after the bye. Defensive end Frostee Rucker (shoulder) was on the field after missing Wednesday and Thursday and was listed as probable after a full practice.
Tight end Ben Utecht (chest) was listed as doubtful and another tight end Nate Lawrie (back) was questionable after going through practice.
"By the time we get to the bye week we should have some of these guys ready to go," he said.
SUPER MARIO: After playing three of the NFL's top six-sacks-per-pass teams, it's just another day at the office for left tackle Levi Jones even though he's going to be lined up most of Sunday against Houston's Mario Williams, the overall No. 1 pick in the 2006 draft.
"You've got to get jacked up against everybody every week with the guys we play," Jones said. "Look at this week. Another monster. They're all like that. James Harrison had six sacks, too."
What Jones is saying is that No. 1 doesn't matter now. Last week, Harrison, the Steelers linebacker who was a free agent out of Kent State and sometimes lined up over him, came in with 6.5 sacks and left with 8.5. Williams has six sacks.
"Complete opposites," Jones said. "Going from 6 feet (Harrison) to 6-7."