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Notes: two shades of Gray for Jones; Thompson beefs up D-line rotation; Nico not left waiting


The amazing Adam Jones now leads the NFL in both kickoff returns and punt returns after playing 45 snaps at cornerback in Sunday's victory over Jacksonville.

After ripping off punt returns of 31 and 18 yards, Jones is averaging 15.8 yards per, ahead of the Eagles' Darren Sproles at 15.4 with eight fewer returns than Sproles.

Although he had a tough time finding room on kickoffs Sunday, Jones' 97-yarder against Carolina is still holding weight. Baltimore's Jacoby Jones has a 108-yarder, but is at a 31.9-yard average, a yard behind Adam Jones' 32.8. Adam has nine fewer returns than Jacoby.

The last player to lead the league in both was Detroit's Mel Gray in 1991 with a 15.4 average on punts and 25.8 on kicks. The only Bengal to lead the league in punt returns is Mike Martin in 1984 with 15.7.

On the other end, Kevin Huber remained second in NFL net punting. At 44.1, only Huber and leader Pat McAfee of the Colts (44.9) are averaging more than 44 yards per.  

THOMPSON BACK:  With defensive tackle Brandon Thompson back in the lineup for the first time in six games Sunday against the Jaguars, the Bengals are trying to get their defensive line rotation set for the second half of the season.

Thompson, the big run stuffer, played 18 snaps but the Bengals still had trouble against the run when they allowed 132 yards on the ground. It's the fifth time they've allowed at least that this season after giving up more than that just twice last year.

The Bengals still gave the bulk of their snaps to the Big Five of tackles Domata Peko (39 of 63 snaps) and Geno Atkins (47) and ends Carlos Dunlap (57), Wallace Gilberry (47) and Robert Geathers (31). But there was a big gap between Thompson, tackle Devon Still (four) and end Margus Hunt (9).

But as Thomson gets into form (he didn't practice Friday), he'll probably get more work. And the play of Atkins the last two games has been extremely encouraging with his best efforts of the season. In noting he had five stops with two hurries and a tipped pass against the Jaguars, gave him his highest run stop percentage since almost two years to the day against Denver on his way to his second Pro Bowl.

NICO GETS WORK: Former Chiefs' fourth-rounder Nico Johnson signed from the Chiefs practice squad on Oct. 15 because he felt injuries at linebacker would give him a chance to play. It took just 18 days and he got his first Bengals start in the middle and second of his career that began last year in Kansas City with six games and one start.

Johnson took 17 snaps in the base defense and said he felt comfortable and is now learning the nickel and other specialty packages. The move put their three most healthy experienced linebackers in their natural position as they filled for injured starters Rey Maualuga in the middle and Vontaze Burfict at WILL. Vincent Rey started in the middle last week against Baltimore, but is more of a WILL.  

 "Coach put so pressure on us in practice for knowing it,. Whatever we get in the game is easy," Johnson said.  "We had seen everything through the week. I saw everything they would at us run or pass, so I was comfortable today."

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