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Thursday update: Hill starting against Browns defense with long memory


On Wednesday Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said he was leaning to using one running back more than the other with all signs pointing to rookie running back Jeremy Hill.

On Thursday running back Giovani Bernard said Hill is getting the start and that he'll be used like he was last year when he spelled BenJarvus Green-Ellis during a rookie season Bernard averaged 11 carries a game to The Law Firm's 14.

"Fill me in at certain times of the game and see how they go and see where it goes from there," Bernard said after practice. "In a way, like last year.  Just keep rolling with it and do what I can to play."

Bernard has missed three games to injury and started everyone but one in his 10 games. They've both played the last three games and Hill has had more carries in each of them after Bernard had more carries in the first seven games before he got hurt.

"I just have to play my role, whatever role they want to put me at. I just have to play," Bernard said. "It's that simple. Whatever they want me to do, I'll do.

"I just want to win. At the end of the day that's all I care about is winning and being on this team and helping this team win."

If you think Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel has a bull's eye on his back Sunday, how about Hill? The Browns defense has not forgotten his post-game comments in the wake of last month's 24-3 loss ("They're probably worse than I thought. They didn't do anything special to me") and have been posted in the Browns defensive meeting rooms this week, according to Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland.

Hill later clarified those comments, saying he was talking more about his own performance, but the horse is out of the barn, as they say.

Grossi quoted cornerback Joe Haden saying, "We've got them up. It's bulletin board material. You see what he felt about us. They're coming in here with something to prove. We went into their house on 'Thursday Night Football' and did what we did to them. We know they're coming in here wanting to do the same to us, so we're ready for their best shot. We just feel, at the end of day, we're not getting the respect we want so we have to go out and keep doing it."

Linebacker Craig Robertson also told Grossi, "Of course, of course. He made comments and we're definitely going to use those comments as fuel to the fire."

 SLANTS AND SCREENS: Wide receiver James Wright (knee) didn't work at Thursday morning's practice, the fifth straight practice he's missed since his career day In Tampa Nov. 30, and it looks like he'll miss another game Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 19) in Cleveland. Also missing was cornerback Adam Jones (chest), but since he came in and out of last Sunday's game, he may have a shot to work Friday.

Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (ribs) returned to practice as did left guard Mike Pollak (knee), but right end Margus Hunt didn't. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth rested his knee Thursday and cornerback Terence Newman (ankle) was back on the field after being limited Wednesday. He was also limited Thursday and so was Kirkpatrick.

With Mike Nugent missing his second day in the wake of his father's sudden death Monday night, wide receiver Mohamed Sanu has taken over the kicking duties in practice. On Wednesday he was four out of five kicking field goals from as far away as 45 yards and on Thursday he said he hit the upright three times. He continues to amaze as the Bengals most versatile player. Sanu, the emergency quarterback who is 5-for-5 in his NFL passing career, was a kicker in youth leagues and punted in high school.

Also surfacing on the field was Kwame Geathers, the younger brother of defensive lineman Robert Geathers. He was wearing No. 76, the jersey of defensive tackle David King, reportedly plucked off the Bengals practice squad by Seattle on Wednesday. The 6-6, 343-pound Kwame Geathers signed to the practice squad to replace him after playing seven games with the Chargers last year,  as well as last season's Wild Card Game in Cincinnati, before they waived him injured this preseason.

Geathers came to San Diego undrafted out of Georgia in 2013.

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