It looks like Joe Mixon suits up Sunday.
It looks like the Bengals are going to have rookie running back Joe Mixon (ankle) but not linebacker Vontaze Burfict (shoulder) for Sunday's finale (4:25 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) in Baltimore going by how they deployed in Thursday's practice under the University of Cincinnati bubble. Mixon, cornerback William Jackson (knee), and slot receiver Alex Erickson (ankle) all went limited after sitting Wednesday.
Running back Giovani Bernard (ankle) and cornerback Draqueze Dennard (knee) were limited a second straight day while two concussion cases, safety Shawn Williams and linebacker Jordan Evans, went full. Fullback Ryan Hewitt (knee) also went full.
With temperatures again in the teens the Bengals bused to Clifton for the second straight day. The weather forecast calls for a high of 27 and a low of 14 Sunday in Baltimore with much of the game being played in the dark. The Bengals are 4-5 under head coach Marvin Lewis in games played in temperatures colder than 27 degrees. The last time was last year's game against the Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium, when they lost, 24-20, on Dec. 18 in 24 degrees. The coldest Lewis game was the Dec. 28, 2015 Andy Dalton overtime loss in Denver in 16 degrees.
-Bernard or Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins is the Bengals' MVP this season, but there's no doubt Bernard is the winner of this season's Ed Block Courage Award for "professionalism, great strength and dedication," while also acting as a community role model. It was a no-brainer for Bengals trainer Paul Sparling after Bernard tore his ACL on Nov. 20, 2016 against Buffalo and made good on his vow to return for the first practice of training camp and has yet to miss a practice.
"After his surgery, he came in and got to work every day on his rehabilitation, leaving no doubt in his mind or in anyone else's that he would be ready to go for training camp," Sparling said in a news release. "His return to pre-injury form should be an example to everyone that hard work and dedication can help attain your goals."
Bernard, just off his first 100-yard rushing game in nearly three years, is second in rushing on the team (406 yards on 95 carries) and third in receiving (37 catches for 371 yards) and is tracking to become the club's all-time pass catching back. His 224 catches and 2,042 yards trails only James Brooks' 293 catches and 3,012 yards.
-Soccer import Jonathan Brown, who has never kicked a field goal in any game on any level, surfaced again Thursday, this time on the practice squad. Brown has a booming but inconsistent leg and didn't make it very far in this past year's kicking competition. He survived the spring teeing it up with veteran Randy Bullock and fifth-rounder Jake Elliott, but got cut in the first couple of days of training camp, long before Bullock claimed the job after the pre-season finale. The 5-10, 195-pound Brown, who played soccer and kicked off occasionally for Louisville, signed after the 2016 draft. He could be staring at another spring with the club.
Ced gets another say
Record sack race underway
Carl Lawson is one of the many guys happy to see voluble and valued veteran left end Carlo Dunlap surface for this week's mandatory minicamp. Lawson, who usually sets up at right end on passing downs, nearly broke Dunlap's rookie sack record last season and he likes the competition. And on Tuesday he offered a challenge to a guy he calls "like an older brother to me."
Scrutiny is mandatory for offense
Just the presence of the very large Cordy Glenn at left tackle at Tuesday's start of mandatory minicamp is evidence of the effort to shore up the offense since he arrived via trade for a first-rounder. But the hopes of a little-used role player also reflect how this offense may be changed by as much philosophy as looks. Remember Ryan Hewitt, the forgotten fullback?