Warrick learning A to Z
BY GEOFF HOBSON - GEORGETOWN, Ky.
The Bengals have made their first response to wide receiver Darnay Scott's season-ending broken leg this week by moving first-round pick Peter Warrick to his flanker spot. James Hundon's 74-yard catch night last Friday in Buffalo has earned him a start at split end this week in Atlanta and Craig Yeast's five catches against the Bills has moved him out of the starting lineup into the slot as the coaches keep toying with three-receiver sets
"I just want to be on the field and if that means I play the slot and return kicks, then that's what I'll do," Yeast said today after practice here at Georgetown College. "I can't look at it like (a demotion). They're trying to play a little more three-wides and that's music to me. That gets me on the field."
If the change is music to Yeast's ears, it's a symphony for Warrick. He's been playing split end and the slot in a three-receiver set during all training camp. But his highlight days came as a flanker at Florida State, and he admits it's his most natural position.
"I like it," Warrick said. "There's a lot more motion. The main thing is I have to learn to go to the call instead of away from the call. I learn fast, but I've got to learn the plays, man. They want me to learn X (split end) and Hawk (slot) and now Z."
After watching the 5-7, 160-pound Yeast scoot for 75 yards as the starting flanker and the 6-foot-1 Hundon come off the bench to muscle to four catches in Buffalo, the Bengals thought a change in the mix was in order.
"We felt this was the best way to get who we feel are our three best receivers right now on the field at the same time," said receivers coach Steve Mooshagian. "Because of the way we call formations, Yeast and Warrick can switch from inside to outside with the call of just one word. It gives us more flexibility and it puts Peter in his natural position."
Mooshagian also thinks it's a promotion for Yeast because he won't have to be on the field for 60 plays.
"He should look at it that way," Mooshagian said. "Now we don't have to expose him to the every-play pounding and you can protect him more by putting him in motion with different blocking responsibilities. Plus, it gives him a chance to stay healthy and relatively rested to return punts."
Mooshagian is looking at a three-man rotation at split end with Hundon, rookie Ron Dugans and second-year man Damon Griffin. But Dugans, Warrick's fellow Florida State rookie, has been downgraded today to questionable for this Friday's game in Atlanta with a sore hamstring.
"I like Z better than X," Warrick said. "The routes are still designed for the kind of route runner I am. Quick stuff. Underneath stuff."