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Old 12-27-2005, 07:59 AM  
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Cincy Post: Needing a win, Bengals mull resting injured players

Risk-reward situation
Needing a win, Bengals mull resting injured players

By Kevin Goheen
Post staff reporter

Bryan Robinson will not play Sunday for the Bengals at Kansas City.

Other than that, head coach Marvin Lewis wasn't too interested in talking about the plans he has for the players nicked up, bruised and a little battered for the regular-season finale against the Chiefs. Lewis will have the opportunity to rest a number of players, if he chooses, given that the Bengals are guaranteed to host a first-round playoff game on Jan. 7 or 8.

At the top of that list are two Pro Bowlers, quarterback Carson Palmer and cornerback Deltha O'Neal. Palmer suffered a slight pull of the left groin late in Saturday's 37-27 loss to Buffalo, while O'Neal bruised his right knee on Buffalo's first offensive play of the game.

"We'll play to win the game," said Lewis, who added that Robinson is still one or two weeks away from returning from a sprained right foot. Robinson's foot is out of a cast and the defensive tackle is to begin rehabbing it this week, testing it to see how much pressure and weight he can put on it.

"Everybody else is eligible to play and we'll keep that option open," said Lewis.

A win against the Chiefs would assure the Bengals (11-4) the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoffs and a third game against AFC North division rival Pittsburgh, while a loss could possibly drop them to No. 4, depending on how New England finishes the season. The Patriots are 10-5 after beating the New York Jets, 31-21, Monday night. New England hosts Miami on Sunday and should the Patriots and Bengals both end up with 11-5 records the Patriots would be the third seed by virtue of a better record against AFC opponents.

Being the fourth seed would mean the Bengals would host Jacksonville in the first round and be in line to play at Indianapolis in the second round. The Bengals lost at Jacksonville, 23-20, on Oct. 9, their first loss of the season. The Bengals missed out on an opportunity to earn the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye with their loss on Saturday against Buffalo.

"Nothing has really changed," said Lewis. "I wish we hadn't lost the football game but we did and we're going to learn from it and we're going to get better. We're going to play either the Steelers, the Jaguars or the Chiefs again and we're going to work on getting better as a football team this week. We've got to play better than we did on (Saturday) in all three phases. It left a sour taste in my mouth and in our players and coaches' mouths and we have to get it out of there this week."

Whether Palmer plays or not is the biggest question facing the Bengals this week. Palmer injured himself scrambling out of bounds on the first play when the Bengals got possession of the ball trailing 30-27 with 53 seconds left to play against the Bills. A slight limp was noticeable as he ran back to the huddle. On second down, Palmer threw an interception that Buffalo cornerback Terrence McGee returned 46 yards for a touchdown that sealed Cincinnati's loss.

Lewis will have to decide how much of a risk it would be to play Palmer and have him possibly aggravate the injury. The Bengals won two of three games last season with backup Jon Kitna starting in place of an injured Palmer and, with nine seasons of experience, Kitna is more than capable of handling the Bengals offense and the hostile atmosphere that will await the team at Arrowhead Stadium.

Lewis could also choose to rest other starters or key players depending on their health. O'Neal returned to the game after hurting himself but he did say the bruise bothered him against the Bills. Running back Chris Perry has missed the last two games with a sprained ankle he suffered against Cleveland on Dec. 18. Perry is much improved, according to Lewis, but the head coach needs to assess the risk of putting him back into the lineup if he's not 100 percent.

Veterans such as right tackle Willie Anderson and center Rich Braham should start, but depending how the game plays out they could be given time off in favor of backups Scott Kooistra, Stacy Andrews and Eric Ghiaciuc.

While the Bengals know they will be playing after Sunday's game is over, the Chiefs don't have that luxury. They are still in the hunt for a playoff berth, although their fate may be sealed before kickoff. Kansas City needs to beat the Bengals and then hope both Pittsburgh and San Diego lose home games this weekend. San Diego plays Denver Saturday night, while Pittsburgh is at home against Detroit on Sunday afternoon.

Whoever Lewis decides to play, he wants a better performance against the Chiefs than the one the Bengals gave Saturday against Buffalo.

"I talk about effort, energy and execution, the poise and the passion it takes to win like we did for 14 weeks and this week we didn't quite execute well enough and consistently enough and we got beat," said Lewis. "We've got to play football and do it the way we've been taught and coached to do it. That's the most disappointing thing about the other day, it's just not executing and going out and doing the things, the details of our jobs, the way they've been coached to do. We've not had that happen in a while, consistently, and we had a little too much of that."

http://news.cincypost.com/apps/pbcs....512270308/1022
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Old 12-27-2005, 08:13 AM   #2
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they don't need a win.
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Old 12-27-2005, 08:15 AM   #3
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Cincy would probably be better off losing, I'd rather play Jacksonville than Pittsburgh.
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Old 12-27-2005, 08:28 AM   #4
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+ it would be pretty dumb to try and beat a tough KC squad @ Arrowhead and risking injuries to key players in a almost meaningless game.
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Old 12-27-2005, 08:33 AM   #5
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They will rest starters and eval 2nd stringers
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Old 12-27-2005, 08:42 AM   #6
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The Bengals are looking pretty vulnerable right now. I'm not sure they can afford to back off the pedal. I certainly wouldn't want my team entering the post-season on a losing streak.

The Bengals remind me a lot of the '03 Chiefs. An offense that masks a weak defense. And a defense that has lived off of turnovers all year.
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Old 12-27-2005, 08:57 AM   #7
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I haven't seen a single Cincinnati game this year, so I know little about them. I'm fine if they want to sit some starters, though.
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Old 12-27-2005, 09:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rain Man
I haven't seen a single Cincinnati game this year, so I know little about them. I'm fine if they want to sit some starters, though.
Play a tape of the 2003 Chiefs and put a little more emphasis on passing not rushing. That's the Bengals. Except they might have a little more D, just enough to win a first round game against Jax.
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Old 12-27-2005, 09:30 AM   #9
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yes anyway Indy should make it to the SB.

Broncos get it the 3rd time in Indy !!! lol
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Old 12-27-2005, 09:41 AM   #10
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If Cincy does rest their starters, there's still no guarantee of a win. Last year, San Diego rested their starters and remember what the scrubs did to the Chiefs?
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Old 12-27-2005, 09:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jspchief
The Bengals are looking pretty vulnerable right now. I'm not sure they can afford to back off the pedal. I certainly wouldn't want my team entering the post-season on a losing streak.

The Bengals remind me a lot of the '03 Chiefs. An offense that masks a weak defense. And a defense that has lived off of turnovers all year.
Yep I agree. Though the one thing about Cinci is that you know offensively that team will be around for 5-10 yrs later unlike the 2003 Chiefs.

Palmer is in his 3rd yr, Chad Johnson, Rudi Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh are all just in yr 5.

WOW. This team could be scary for a long, long time.
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Old 12-27-2005, 10:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirk digler
Yep I agree. Though the one thing about Cinci is that you know offensively that team will be around for 5-10 yrs later unlike the 2003 Chiefs.

Palmer is in his 3rd yr, Chad Johnson, Rudi Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh are all just in yr 5.

WOW. This team could be scary for a long, long time.
Thank goodness for excessive salary demands and salary caps.
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Old 12-27-2005, 10:16 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fire Me Boy!
Kitna is more than capable of handling the Bengals offense and the hostile atmosphere that will await the team at Arrowhead Stadium.
hmmm...
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Old 12-27-2005, 10:19 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rain Man
Thank goodness for excessive salary demands and salary caps.
Not really.

Rudi Johnson signed a 5-yr contract extension in March for 5 yrs -$26 million

Chad Johnson signed a 5-yr contract extension in 2003

TJ Houshmandzadeh just signed a 4-yr extension this year

Carson Palmer is in yr 3 of his 7-year $50 million dollar contract. The last year is voidable.

Like I said this team could be scary for a long time.
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Old 12-27-2005, 10:38 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirk digler
Not really.

Rudi Johnson signed a 5-yr contract extension in March for 5 yrs -$26 million

Chad Johnson signed a 5-yr contract extension in 2003

TJ Houshmandzadeh just signed a 4-yr extension this year

Carson Palmer is in yr 3 of his 7-year $50 million dollar contract. The last year is voidable.

Like I said this team could be scary for a long time.
Offensively, perhaps. What about the D? Or their O-line?

They just don't scare me at all. Of course, my opinion may change in 6 or 7 days.
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