In addition to Chad Ochocinco, who practiced despite a sore knee, the Bengals got four other starters back for practice on Tuesday, three of them defensive starters.
RB Cedric Benson, DT Domata Peko, DE Robert Geathers, and S Chris Crocker all fully participated in practice yesterday indoors at Wall-to-Wall Soccer in Mason, OH.
All four players were held out of last Sunday’s drubbing by the Jets to nurse various injuries.
Having Benson back should help the power running game on offense. Peko is considered their best run-stopping DT, and Geathers brings pass-rushing skills and reliable edge containment responsibility. The team has probably missed Crocker most of all, as his ability to make run fits and bring help in the passing game has been sorely missed.
The return of these three defenders should help the Bengals slow down the Jets running game. The Bengals run defense was ghastly last Sunday, allowing a whopping 257 yards on the ground.
Tidbit: Since the start of the season, the Bengal defense has lost the following major contributors/starters to season-ending injured reserve: DT Pat Sims, DE Antwan Odom, LB Rey Maualuga, and S Roy Williams.
Chad Ochocinco mentioned in post-game interviews that the Bengals brought a “vanilla” game plan to the Meadowlands last week that resembled “a preseason game.” While Carson Palmer denied the claim, Marvin Lewis was his usual evasive self about it, but seemed to confirm it.
“That really isn’t relevant right now at all to the situation,” Lewis said. ”We’re going to play the Jets on Saturday and what we did or didn’t do, it doesn’t really matter now. This is the game, it’s a playoff game, it’s what we all wanted. Here we go.”
Profootballtalk.com reported a rumor that Mike Shanahan is interested in prying defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer from the Bengals to be his coordinator in Washington. To date, Zimmer has denied that he’s been contacted, but has reiterated that he has not been contacted since the bye week about an extension to his contract, which expires in February.
”I’ve not talked to Mike Shanahan or anyone from the Redskins. It’s all rumors and speculation. It’s not for me. I promise you it’s not for me,” Zimmer said. Also stating, “(The Bengals) can approach me at anytime they want and if they don’t want me I’ll move on.”
The Bengals would be foolish to let Zimmer leave, considering the outstanding work he has done with the defense the last two season. They will likely allow him to pursue head coaching vacancies, but do their best to keep him on staff rather than allow him to take a lateral move with another team.
Freezer Bowl 2?
The National Weather Service is predicting 18 degrees Fahrenheit for kick-off Saturday, with a windchill factor of 6.