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Monday musings: Green passion; Ravens rave about Hue; Defense in a snap; Roster spot open; Rice reax


The usually stoic A.J. Green got fired up in Baltimore.

Updated: 7:05 p.m.

Hue Jackson, the Bengals new offensive coordinator, has wanted to tap A.J. Green's passion ever since he got the job. On Sunday he got it as Green stalked the sidelines after the Ravens took the lead with less than six minutes left in the game and called for the ball.

On the second play, Green's juggling-and-juke 77-yard touchdown catch with 4:58 left won the game.

"That's what's going to make him great. That's the fire and passion that is down in there that came out," Jackson said Monday. "Like I keep telling guys, let your personality show. I don't want guys to keep it in here, I'd rather it be out. People need to see who you are. I think people feed off of that. They did. At the end of the day the guy went and made a play. He said he wanted to make a play he made a play and won the game for us in that situation." 

Jackson coached the Bengals wide receivers from 2004-2006 and he was able to connect with Chad Johnson through his passion. He knows if it can be controlled, it's a weapon.

"I've been around guys that have said, 'Give it to me,' and you give it to them and they make plays. I've been around guys here before that have been the same way," Jackson said. "A guy knows. These guys work hard, they compete with each other and they compete with the other teams. They know when they've got a chance to make something happen and I think he was just feeling it. He wanted it and he made it happen."


For Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, the best part of his Sunday debut against the Ravens besides the 23-16 victory probably came in  the first half when during a break in the action Baltimore linebacker Daryl Smith turned to the Bengals offense and asked them to run a conventional play so he wouldn't have to keep running all over the field.

Jackson, a former Ravens quarterbacks coach who has a good relationship with outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, also liked a Suggs quote that came out of the locker room.

"Hue knew this team and he knew we were going to try to get after the quarterback and he did a good job of [calling a] quick game, and screens and taking it out of our hands," Suggs said. "We have to tip our hat off to them. They did a good job executing. They won field position early. You can't spot a good team like that 15 points."

At one point Suggs even gave Jackson some grief on the sidelines during a pause.

"To me, that's respect. We earned that yesterday," Jackson said.

 A quick look at the snap counts from Sunday's 23-16 victory over the Ravens gives you a better idea just how much the Bengals sucked it up in that last-minute defensive stand.

We knew they were on the field for more than 11 minutes of the fourth quarter, but defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry was on his 66th and 67th snaps of the day when he racked up 1.5 sacks of Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco on the last two plays. And when safety Reggie Nelson helped Gilberry on that last fourth down with a blitz, it was his 86th play of the day.

Like Gilberry said, he was so tired on that last play he just heard, 'Hike,' and bolted. Last year he played about 47 percent of the snaps and on Sunday he played 76 percent.

One reason is that Flacco threw it 62 times, the second most ever against the Bengals, and Gilberry is one of their best nickel players. In 31 games as a Bengal he has 15.5 sacks.

Another is that two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins played just 49 snaps or 56 percent in his first game back from ACL surgery. In his second Pro Bowl season in 2012, Atkins played about 73 percent. He appeared to have an issue at the end of the game when he was carted off, but head coach Marvin Lewis said it was merely dehydration and Atkins said he was fine as he walked out of the locker room 30 minutes after the game.

Defensive lineman Robert Geathers, the 11-year vet who missed all but two games last season, had his biggest play count in a while with 67 percent of the snaps. He took about 60 in 2012.  

How good of shape are they in? The oldest Bengal, Terence Newman, who turned 36 on Thursday, played all 88 snaps on the corner, matching safety George Iloka, 12 years his junior...

The only guy who has thrown more passes against the Bengals than Flacco on Sunday is another Baltimore quarterback. Elvis Grbac threw 63 times when the Bengals beat the defending Super Bowl champs, 21-10, at Paul Brown Stadium on Sept. 23, 2001.  The Giants' Phil Simms also threw it 62 times when the Bengals won at Riverfront Stadium on Oct. 13, 1985. Simms holds the record against the Bengals with 40 completions that day. Flacco's 35 are third most behind Simms and the 37 of Drew Brees on Nov. 19, 2006 in a Bengals win in New Orleans....

The feared dislocated elbow that took out tight end Tyler Eifert took a gouge out of the Bengals' offensive game plan, liming them to 15 snaps of formations with two tight ends. It's why wide receiver Brandon Tate played 40 snaps. After Eifert went down the Bengals decided to keep Mohamed Sanu in the slot most of the time with Dane Sanzenbacher getting just eight snaps...

PLAYER MOVES: The Bengals were one shy on the 53-man roster Monday when they cut cornerback Onterio McCalebb and re-signed him to the practice squad. The fact they didn't sign anyone right away indicates they may not be opting for former Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson just yet. With tight end Tyler Eifert suffering what is believed to be a dislocated elbow in Sunday's game, they may also be perusing tight ends. He had the elbow in what appeared to be a cast and sling Monday and had no comment.

Defensive tackle Christo Bilikudi, waived on Saturday so the Bengals could make room for McCalebb, is not an option since he was claimed by the Ravens.

The Bengals also ended the curious case of wiide receiver Cobi Hamilton Monday. They wanted to put him on the practice squad but apparently he wanted to go elsewhere and so they  terminated him from the exempt list of the practice squad when he didn't show up last week.


Left tackle Andrew Whitworth, the Bengals player representative to the NFL Players Association, gave a hearty endorsement of the Ravens' decision to cut running back Ray Rice Monday in the wake of the publication of the video that shows him knocking out his future wife.

"There's no place for that in any environment. Having a daughter and having a wife, I agree with their decision," Whitworth said. "I think it's important that we set a precedent for how guys should act and live, so I applaud them for being willing to step up and correct a wrong"

Whitworth believes the NFL can become a leader on the impact of domestic violence.

"We talk about a lot of different things that the NFL says that are important, and this is a great example and a great opportunity for the NFL to show in this country they're the lead dog," Whitworth said. "Let's be real to people who watch these games and follow them, fantasy football and everything else setting a precedent for how things should be done and the way people should conduct themselves. So I think it's important when we set strict guidelines to how we expect professional athletes to live."

With the video going viral and Rice now suspended indefinitely from the NFL, there is the sense that he may not be able to go into another locker room. Quarterback Andy Dalton isn't sure about that.

"For something like that, you have to accept the guy. Obviously, he made a really poor decision. Hopefully he learned from this," Dalton said. "Obviously he's going to have to handle a lot of criticism, have to handle all the punishment that comes along with it. You hope that there is good for him that comes from it. I'm sure he's taken all the necessary steps to become a better person, become a better man after this unfortunate situation. "

Whitworth also isn't sure if Rice can/will return.  

"I would say that it would have to be something drastic to happen to prove it because you want to see someone that truly understands what they've done and truly has changed," he said. "I think that will be a tough thing to prove, but who knows?"  

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis wasn't aware of the move until his Monday news conference and declined comment.

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