Another week, another injured tight end. As Mason Schreck talked about his second straight season-ending knee injury while standing in a brace before Wednesday's practice, rookie Jordan Franks talked about making his NFL debut Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 19, click for tickets) against Tampa Bay at Paul Brown Stadium.
Tyler Kroft stood in a boot expressing hope the bone in his foot heals "in a couple of weeks," and talking about his recent conversation with Tyler Eifert. It was Eifert's Sept. 30 dislocated ankle that started this all-out assault on tight ends.
"I remember when we had eight or nine," said Schreck, who tore his ACL last Sunday night in Kansas City in the same knee he sprained an MCL last year. "I thought we had the deepest group of tight ends in the league. Now …."
Franks, undrafted out of Central Florida, has been promoted from the practice squad the week brother Feleipe quarterbacks Florida in that monster SEC game against Georgia.
"It's nice my brother will be able to watch it," said Jordan, who played with his brother at Wakulla High School in Crawfordville, Fla. The 6-4, 232-pound Franks can call on some intriguing versatility as he outlined to Bengals radio play-by-play man Dan Hoard his years at UCF that have helped him with his learning curve: "Linebacker my freshman year. Safety. Defensive end in nickel. My sophomore year I switched to receiver and junior and senior year I switched to tight end, so I'm still new to the position. I've just been a big athlete my whole life. It helped me out. Understanding the defense also helped me playing offense."
Kroft, who missed the last game with what was believed to be a broken bone, just feels better understanding the injury. He says after seeing a variety of specialists he's hopeful he can be back in a couple of weeks …
Vontaze Burfict injured his hip in the second half Sunday in Kansas City, his third game back from suspension, and he didn't work Wednesday. After Burfict's four missed tackles led a staggering 18 against the Chiefs (a number charted by profootballfocus.com), head coach Marvin Lewis isn't happy with his pet linebacker.
Asked how Burfict is doing this season, Lewis said, "He has not played as well as he played in the past," and then refused to elaborate. "It's not relevant," he said …
PFF said Dre Kirkpatrick had three of those misses and he knows.
"We've got to make those tackles, including myself. I don't like to talk about anybody else. I missed a couple tackles and that's something that's unacceptable here. We've got to clean that up," he said.
He also knows how it looked and it wasn't good. They are using terms like fire and competing, things noticeably absent in the 45-10 loss.
"Just got to have that fire. We just didn't play with enough fire and when you don't play with any fire, you can be relaxed on a lot of things, a lot of plays. We've just got to figure it out," Kirkpatrick said.
Asked what can fire them up, he fired back, "The scoreboard. I feel nobody's got to say nothing to us. We know we lost. We know what the score was. It was an embarrassment. We already know that."
Middle linebacker Preston Brown, who along with Carlos Dunlap was the only starter not to miss a tackle, said it has to be fixed in practice. "It has to start today," Brown said ...
Rookie center Billy Price (foot) returned to the practice field for the first time in five weeks and it looks like he's on schedule to return after the bye for the Nov. 11 game against the Saints at PBS ...Wide receiver John Ross (groin) wasn't seen on the field. Neither was slot corner Darqueze Dennard (shoulder) and tackles Bobby Hart and Jake Fisher (unknown. For the third straight week running back Giovani Bernard (knee) was on the rehab field ...