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Quick hits: Zim endorses Marv;No Tez, Dre; Down to 3 backers


-Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis’ status may be shrouded in the unknown, but there’s no question where his old defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer comes down on it.

“Marvin has done some unbelievable things for that organization,” Zimmer said Wednesday during his conference call with the Cincinnati media.  “He deserves to be there as long as he wants to be in my opinion.”

During Zimmer’s tenure with the Bengals (2008-13), they won ten games three times and now as head coach of the Vikings they host the 5-8 Bengals at 10-3 Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) riding eight wins in the last nine games and eyes on the NFC’s No. 1 seed. He doesn’t want to hear about the struggling and hurt Bengals defense. He says guys like Michael Johnson, Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, and George Iloka are “my guys.”  That’s why he thinks it will be what he calls “a tough game.”

“I love the Bengals,” Zimmer said. “I love the Minnesota Vikings a little more right now.”
During his Nov. 5 bye week, Zimmer fled to his Northern Kentucky ranch that he kept even when he got the Vikes’ job and he spent some time with Lewis. They go way back beyond 2007 to 1983 and the Big Sky Conference with Lewis at Idaho State and Zimmer at Weber State.

“I know how good of a coach Marvin Lewis is,” Zimmer said. “I l know what kind of person he is. I know what he’s done for the community and what he’s done for 99 percent of the players there.  It would be a tremendous loss if he wasn’t back.”

-It looks like there won’t a reunion with Zimmer and Bengals WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Burfict came into league with the Bengals undrafted and with more baggage than Delta in 2012. But Zimmer helped him
become a Pro Bowler by the time he left.

Burfict (concussion) didn’t practice Wednesday and looks like he’ll miss his second straight game. Same with cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. Running back Joe Mixon, who also missed last Sunday’s game, was in concussion protocol when it came to the media, but he was running around the rehab field. So was tight end Tyler Kroft.
They were down to three active backers on the practice field Wednesday when veteran middle linebacker didn’t surface. That left rookies Hardy Nickerson and Jordan Evans joined by practice squadders Brandon Bell and Carl Bradford.

Starting safety Shawn Williams appeared to be the only player who missed last Sunday that practiced Wednesday.

-No. 3 QB Jeff Driskel practiced Wednesday for the first time since breaking his throwing hand in the pre-season finale. He has been throwing to rehab trainer Nick Cosgray (“He went through a couple pairs of gloves,” Driskel said.), but now he’s throwing to receivers.  The Bengals have three weeks to decide if they’ll activate him or put him on injured reserve for good. Look for the latter.

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