Updated: 7:35 p.m.
After Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola ran Wes Welker-like through the Redskins creases and zones for 15 catches and 160 yards last week, Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall sounds relieved to be playing the Bengals and what he sees as their passing game that goes vertical and not horizontal.
Hall has told The Washington Post that he relishes the Bengals trying to go downfield.
"We're going to be up in their faces. We've definitely got a chance to go up there and make some plays against those guys," Hall said, "The last two weeks, we haven't really faced a team that really threw it downfield and let us try to make plays downfield. It was a lot of dink and dunk passing routes. So, going against this offense, this Jay Gruden offense, he's going to give us some chances to make some plays downfield, because we know he's going to go downfield to try to set up plays for his guys."
But the Bengals have a pretty good presence across the middle, too, and he's a lot bigger than the 5-11, 188-pound Amendola. Armon Binns, all 6-3, 210 pounds of him, showed the same physicality and toughness he showed on the practice squad last year during a 90-second span in the second quarter of Sunday's 34-27 victory over the Browns.
First, he outmuscled cornerback Dimitri Patterson for a ball over the middle in a tangle of arms and legs on the turf for an 18-yard gain.
"He drove the route pretty good. He was driving it before I came out of my break," Binns said. "He kind of knew something. We were going back and forth and then I got both my arms underneath him."
And then three snaps later he took an ungodly shot from middle linebacker D'Qwell Jackson on an incompletion that even CBS said was a shot to the head but didn't get called. Binns went to the sidelines woozy, but got cleared to return and caught one more ball for eight yards to finish off a big 66-yard game in his second NFL appearance that included a drive-igniting 20-yard catch.
"That's what the coaches ask from me," Binns said. "They want me to be fearless going across the middle and they need me to be a target for Andy (Dalton) and sometimes you have to take a shot."
Binns says he's never had a concussion and if he didn't get one then he may never get one. Binns says he never took a blow "as bad as that one," but he says it's part of the job.
So the Redskins may get a dose of the Bengals version of possession receivers. Then there's the closest guy to Amendola on the Bengals in the 5-7, 180-pound Andrew Hawkins. According to profootballfocus.com, Dalton has a 140-plus passer rating throwing to Hawkins (10 catches for 142 yards) in the slot.
Hall raved to The Post about Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green's ability to pluck the ball out of the air, but besides his 10-yard TD catch his most impressive play Sunday was in the possession game when he came flying downfield and cut in front of Hawkins to take out cornerback Buster Skrine at the 5 and finish off the 50-yard TD.
PRACTICE MAKES BURFICT: Another example of the quick study that is rookie middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict:
Once the Bengals found out a week ago Thursday night starting WILL backer Thomas Howard was out not only for Sunday's game against the Browns but for the season with a torn ACL, linebackers coach Paul Guenther phoned Burfict at about 7 p.m. and told him he was the guy.
Not only that, the next thing Burfict knew he was back at work a half hour later studying a position he had never played in his life. Not only that, he was in the Paul Brown Stadium gym as Guenther aligned chairs in different offensive formations to help him get the picture deep into the night. Not only that, Burfict was back in the building by 6:55 a.m. Friday.
"We did it three days straight, 45 minutes each," Burfict said before this Thursday's practice. "Like I said I need it, especially at WILL, since it is a new position for me, but it's helping me."
Guenther came out of it raving about what Burfict did in the 34-27 victory and it proved to be one of the few defensive bright spots. After playing 22 of the 67 snaps, Burfict is listed No. 1 on the depth chart even through Vincent Rey played the other 45 against what was primarily Cleveland's three-receiver sets.
But Burfict is getting the sense he'll be playing more with a regular week of study.
"I'm probably sure they didn't do a lot of base (defense) because we were kind of short at Will since I was kind of low in practice," Burfict said. "But since I have been doing a lot of practice this week I am pretty sure we'll be in a lot of base."
INJURY UPDATE: Left end Carlos Dunlap's knee bounced back well enough that he was able to practice Thursday after he went full go in a padded practice for the first time in about six weeks Wednesday. Running back Bernard Scott (hand) was also back. They were both back at full go Thursday.
Cornerback Leon Hall (calf), who was limited Wednesday, didn't work Thursday but he didn't look like he was out of the game plan. He wore his jersey and a ballcap and stayed with the group. Limited for the second straight day were left end Robert Geathers (groin), safety Jeromy Miles (hip), and tight end Donald Lee (calf).
Right guard Kevin Zeitler (hip), limited Wednesday, went full go Thursday.