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Inactives: WJax out on depleted corner; Ross iced again; Tez starts at WILL


William Jackson (in white) and his toe couldn't pass muster in Sunday's pregame.

DENVER - Cornerback William Jackson broke a heavy sweat in Sunday's vigorous pre-game test run with secondary coach Kevin Coyle but the body language was not good when they came off the Sports Authority Field grass.

So Jackson (toe) was deemed inactive, meaning the Bengals went into the game against the Broncos down two regular cornerbacks like they ended last week's game in Tennessee.  That gave Darqueze Dennard the start, but the interesting move will be when the Broncos go three wide receivers.

Dennard figures to go in the slot, but Josh Shaw struggled on the outside in place of Jackson and Jones with three third-down penalties in the fourth quarter. The other option on the outside is the promising but little-used KeiVarae Russell.

 After a week head coach Marvin Lewis said rookie wide receiver John Ross let the team down in last Sunday's loss in Tennessee, he deactivated Ross this Sunday.  Ross, the club's first-round pick, has taken just 17 snaps in three games and officially finds himself in an NFL Catch-22. He needs reps, but he can't get on the field because he doesn't have enough reps.

The Bengals are hoping another wide receiver, slot man Tyler Boyd, and gives them a lift after missing the last four games with a sprained knee. The Bengals have gone 2-for-18 on third down in the last two games and that's where Boyd made his mark last year when he led all rookies with 22 third-down catches.

In a mild surprise rookie defensive tackle Josh Tupou was inactive after he made his NFL debut last week. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins has the sickle cell trait and the Bengals have always monitored his number of snaps in the Mile High air. He usually plays about 72-73 percent of the snaps and the last time they played here on Dec. 28, 2015 he played 60 percent of the snaps.

Cornerback Adam Jones (concussion) and middle linebacker Kevin Minter (elbow) were ruled out on Friday. Guards Alex Redmond and Christian Westerman continued to be inactive. The Jackson deactivation meant rookie running back Brian Hill was active after joining the club a few days ago from the Falcons practice squad.

Keep an eye on Vontaze Burfict. He's been at middle linebacker the last three games but he's let defensive coordinator Paul Guenther know he's more comfortable at WILL. And he did start at WILL.

Cincinnati Bengals travel to Denver to take on the Broncos in week 11 of the regular season.

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