It looks like another week without running back Giovani Bernard (knee) and a close call on safety Shawn Williams (concussion) for Sunday night's game against the Chiefs (8:20 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 5) in Kansas City. They went to the rehab field Wednesday, where they were joined by rookie center Billy Price (foot). Price is out of the boot and the best guess is they'll bring him back for the Paul Brown Stadium game against the Saints on Nov. 11.
No sign of slot cornerback Darqueze Dennard (shoulder) and the best guess there is they'll call up either a corner (KeiVarae Russell) or a safety (Demetrius Cox) from the practice squad before the game. Either way it's a battle-field promotion for rookie cornerback Darius Phillips moving into the No. 4 hole. That's not the hard call. The hard call is either cutting somebody or putting somebody on injured reserve to make room.
Quarterback Andy Dalton surfaced on the injury report for the first time with a back issue on Wednesday, but he went full in their first work after Sunday's Steelers game. So did wide receiver John Ross (groin), his first full action since the Sept. 30 injury. The DNP list is probably a foreshadowing of Sunday's inactive list: Bernard, Williams, Price and Dennard, along with SAM linebacker Nick Vigil (knee) and tight end Tyler Kroft (foot).
The list of limited included suddenly hard-luck linebacker Vincent Rey (hamstring), as well as starters Carlos Dunlap (buttock), left tackle Cordy Glenn (ankle) and tight end C.J. Uzomah (shoulder). Also, special teams captain Clayton Fejedelem (thigh) and another core teamer, linebacker Jordan Evans (hamstring) ...
- Second-year defensive end Jordan Willis is going home to Kansas City, but he wasn't a big Chiefs fan. He went to Arrowhead Stadium once and that was in the seventh grade. He was a Peyton Manning guy, but he says he didn't get into football, "until much later in life." He's probably faced red-hot Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes more than anybody in a Bengals uniform since they both came out of the Big 12 in the 2017 draft. But Willis, out of Kansas State, says the swirl of Texas Tech quarterbacks has clogged his memory.
Photos from Wednesday's practice as the Bengals face the Chiefs in week 7 of the regular season.
"Playing against Texas Tech was just different because they do all this fast-paced stuff," Willis said. "So it was hard to kind of tell. And they had so many quarterbacks. They were always switching them out in that system. But I knew he was a good football player."
But Willis saw enough to give his teammates something to think about after a week they didn't sack Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. He also saw it last year as a rookie when the Bengals played Mahomes in the preseason.
"I would compare him to like, I mean I'm not saying he's Big Ben, but he can be considered like a Big Ben because he's a bigger quarterback," Willis said. "I know in the preseason last year there was a play and I tried to bend the corner and get him and he kind of slipped up the field. So if you don't get a good wrap up on him, he's going to get away from you.
"You could say (he's faster than Big Ben). Just because he's a bigger body he's going to be harder to take down. And he can move. With him being younger, he can move a little bit better than Ben."
The no sacks of Big Ben has not played well inside.
"That probably could be the main reason why we didn't win the game, is not keeping the quarterback in the pocket," Willis said. "Mahomes, when he gets out of the pocket, that's when he's most dangerous. So if we don't keep him in the pocket it could be similar situations. Last week he'd find a receiver down the field. More than likely it'd be No. 10 (Hill). He's a guy that always just runs straight down the field. He'll break away from coverage and scatter everything up and (Mahomes) is capable of throwing that 70-yard pass down the field easily. It's just about keeping him in the pocket. I would say we do have a chip on our shoulders." ….
- If you thought Roethlisberger got it out of his hand quickly to slow down the vaunted Bengals pass rush, wait until you see Mahomes. Maybe that gives left end Carlos Dunlap a chance to pad his lead among NFL defensive linemen. He's sitting on five, four away from the lead for any position.
"You have an opportunity, but they do have a great variety of quick passes," Dunlap said. "Normal quick passes or behind the line of scrimmage with screens or the toss sweep-type passes where it counts as a run. They have a very creative offense."
He knows the Bengals defense, ranked 29th, has to have one as big as prime time against a Chiefs offense second in scoring.
"Anytime you want to be one of the great ones on the defense or you want your defense to have a statement-type game, you have to do it against the best offenses in the league," Dunlap said, "and right now they're putting up those points like they're one of the best offenses in the league. So you've got to go out there and put it on 'em."