8-22-01, 7:05 p.m.
8-23-01, 8:30 a.m.
BY GEOFF HOBSON
GEORGETOWN, Ky. _ Injury is having a hand in the Bengals Quarterback Challenge.
Make that an arm.
Akili Smith said he has very real doubts he'll be able to play Saturday against Buffalo after not throwing for the eighth straight practice Wednesday.
Which could be the death knell for his hopes to overtake Jon Kitna and Scott Mitchell
for the starting quarterback's job that head coach Dick LeBeau plans to fill after the Bills' game.
"Maybe I'll wake up Saturday morning and I'll be able to throw," said Smith, still feeling the affects of the Aug. 10 hit on his throwing arm. "But
I've got to find a way to play if this is going to be it."
The Bengals' front-liners are going to be on display in the Paul Brown Stadium season opener that features a new Kentucky Bluegrass field. LeBeau indicated Pro Bowl running back Corey Dillon could carry about eight times for his first attempts of the year and that he would like to see the first team at least start the second half if the game is going right.
LeBeau said it is not definite Smith is out, "but if the game were today, he couldn't play." Mitchell is getting the start but the injury has forced LeBeau to move out of his pre-season rotation, which would have had Smith going second and Jon Kitna third.
"I think simply because of the injury situation, that Kitna will be the second guy in there," LeBeau said. "We'll see how Akili's shoulder comes along. He's still a little sore. He's making progress, but I think the prudent thing to do would be to wait and see on that. I think you can anticipate Jon Kitna going in second."
More signs pointing to Smith possibly not playing is that LeBeau said No. 4 quarterback Scott Covington has a good chance of getting his first action in a pre-season game this year, but "it's not written in stone."
But maybe there is writing on the wall. Smith said if he couldn't go, his status depends on how Mitchell and Kitna play.
"If they struggle, maybe the door is still open for me," Smith said. "If they play well, I don't know. But I know the first guy is going to have to play well because there will be two hungry quarterbacks behind him."
Covington has thrown the past few days after being shelved by a sore back.
MUNOZ GETS DEFENSIVE: Bengals Hall of Fame left tackle Anthony Munoz stepped over the line here during Wednesday's practice. Defensive line coach Tim Krumrie asked his old teammate to come down and give his players' the view of an offensive lineman.
"People might wonder about an offensive guy helping a defensive guy, but he was just right," said defensive end-tackle Bernard Whittington. "To have a guy of his magnitude come down here and help us is incredible. I've been in this league for eight years and I've never seen anything like it. I tip
my hat to the Bengals' organization for doing it."
Munoz helped out each guy in individual sessions, and he also critiqued them after they they did one-on-one pass rush drills.
"My main point was to stress to keep your feet moving," Munoz said. ""Don't stop after one move. Anything can happen when you get a big guy moving. Make two or three moves with the legs always moving."
Whittington was taking notes.
"I don't know if he's a coach, but he would make a heck of a coach," Whittington said.
Which always brings up the question, "When Will Munoz Coach in the NFL?"
Not anytime soon as he plans to continue to watch son Michael play for Tennessee.
"I want to be able to get down there and see him play every game if I can,"Anthony Munoz said. "I'm keeping it fresh by doing a couple of camps and coaching (the line) at Cincinnati's Moeller High School.