When Bengals No. 1 pick Keith Rivers talks about getting better, it means doing what he did Thursday and spending about a half hour after practice with a couple of his fellow linebackers and position coach Jeff FitzGerald.
"Getting in a little extra work," Rivers said. "Working on some reads. Working with blocks and (using the shoulder) on the tight end."
If it sounds excruciatingly detailed, it is because only about 10 plays in five games separate the Bengals defense from a heck of a season and a 29th ranking against the run. Rivers is trying to prevent plays like the perimeter runs of Felix Jones last Sunday.
But it was also a good day because his leaping interception of Tony Romo and ensuing 39-yard return showed off just what kind of athlete the Bengals have at WILL linebacker.
"Freshman year in high school. That was the end of that," said Rivers, when asked if he ever played running back.
He just reached a tough watershed moment now that the Bengals are 0-5. He lost five games his entire career at USC. Which gets us back to the extra 30 minutes.
"You have to just keep grinding. That's what it basically comes down to," Rivers said. "It's all tied in together. The better I do, the better the team does."
PALMER LIMITED: Like he did Wednesday, Carson Palmer went through the quarterback drills without throwing in the early portion of Thursday's Bengals practice and basically acted as a catcher for backups Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jordan Palmer. Like Wednesday, he was also listed as limited because he didn't throw.
On the field dressed Thursday after not practicing Wednesday were left tackle Levi Jones (back) was limited and middle linebacker Dhani Jones (foot) had a full practice. Backup center Kyle Cook (toe) didn't dress and backup middle linebacker Corey Mays (ankle) was ruled out.
Kicker Shayne Graham (groin) didn't practice Thursday and was an add to the report.
KILMER CUT: The Bengals also Thursday waived cornerback Ethan Kilmer from the Reserve/Injured list. Kilmer, a third-year player from Penn State, suffered a thigh injury in training camp on July 31 and had reverted to Cincinnati's R/I list after clearing waivers Aug. 21.
Kilmer is another recent draftee fallen prey to injuries. He hasn't played since his promising rookie year of 2006 because of a variety of ills. After the Bengals took him in the seventh round out of Penn State, he finished second on the team with 18 special teams tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown in New Orleans on the fourth defensive snap of his life.