A.J. Green: no surgery and should be back this year.
The Bengals finally got some good news on the injury front Monday when head coach Marvin Lewis revealed A.J. Green has a strained hamstring that doesn't require surgery and he expects him to return before the end of the season.
But Lewis ruled out his perennial Pro Bowl wide receiver from Sunday's game in Baltimore (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) and indicated he'd be going week-to week He also confirmed running back Giovani Bernard's season-ending torn ACL and indicated that injuries to cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (knee), safety Shawn Williams (hamstring) and long snapper Clark Harris (groin) are day-to-day after calling it the most injured they've been after a game in couple of years. It believed it is not the ACL Bernard tore at North Carolina during college and if he's not back in time for the start of training camp he'll be able to to get on the field at any point soon after,
Kirkpatrick, an interception in each of the last two games, says it is 50-50 whether he plays the Ravens …
No one has to be more relieved than Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, who once lamented last year after Green torched them yet again, "It might be nice if we cover him just once before he retires."
That's because in the last three games in Baltimore, Green has gone off
The Bengals lost in 2013 in OT, but not before they tied it with a 51-yard Hail Mary to Green on the last play of regulation. In the 2014 opener his juggling 77-yard catch and then zig-zag run after he secured it gave him 131 yards on the day and brought the Bengals back from a 16-15 deficit with 4:58 left. Last year he wrecked the Ravens on a career-high 227 yards, and brought back the Bengals twice in the fourth quarter on an 80-yard TD and seven-yard TD to win it with 2:10 left.
But the team he has done the most damage against in his six seasons is Pittsburgh because he's played the Steelers 11 times and Baltimore eight. He has the same amount of TDs against Baltimore as he does the Steelers (six), but he has 30 more catches against Pittsburgh (71-41) and more than 200 yards (975-726). The Bengals are 5-3 when Green plays against the Ravens, 3-8 against the Steelers ...
Lewis said despite missing three of his six PATs and both on Sunday, the Bengals are sticking with kicker Mike Nugent. Lewis says he's more comfortable with Nugent working through his problems with special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons than putting a new kicker into a play-off run …
Guenther is encouraged by the play of his defense that in the last six days has held the score down to 21 points or less. In Sunday's 16-12 loss to Buffalo, they allowed the Bills just one touchdown on four forays into the red zone.
"I think we're heading into the right direction defensively. It's starting to look a little bit more like I'm used to seeing it," Guenther said …
Also Monday, Guenther said he's looking at all kinds of ways to spruce his unit's opening drive of the game, when it's been nicked for scores in five of the last seven games. And that includes looking at changing pre-game warmups …
He also said middle linebacker Rey Maualuga (fibula) wasn't a healthy scratch against the Bills even though he practiced full twice last week.
"He was a little dinged up. He was just getting weened back into practice and we just felt like holding him out for another week," Guenther said ....
After Bengals WILL backer Vontaze Burfict made a flying tackle to stop Bill quarterback Tyrod Taylor as the clock ticked under six minutes Sunday to force a punt, he went to the sidelines and apparently flipped the bird following one of his game-high 13 tackles.
The gesture was caught on camera and is most likely going to net Burfict another fine. Try the $25,000 range if history is followed.
Both Lewis and Guenther didn't see it.
"I have no idea. I don't know what occurred or what or if he did make the gesture or who he's making the gesture to. It might have been at me," Lewis said with a laugh. "He'd have to get in line after yesterday."
They'd rather talk about his play, which has been finer the last couple of weeks after sitting out the first three games with an NFL suspension.
"I think he's playing at a much higher level at this point," Guenther said. "I think he's in much better shape coming back out and getting into playing 60-65 plays, getting used to 70 plays, whatever it was to get used to playing those kind of snaps, it's coming along pretty good."