Adam Jones is back at practice and says he expects to be on the active roster this Sunday at Seattle.
Has he been given any indication by the coaching staff that he’ll be activated?
“No, but I expect to be,” said Jones.
“Adam is a self-proclaimed doctor and probably talks a little too much about this stuff,” said head coach Marvin Lewis. “I don’t want our players ever to talk about anything to do with injuries because that’s not their call.”
The 28-year-old cornerback, who has been out of action with a neck injury for more than a year, was able to return to practice on Monday on a three-week exemption that allows him to practice without being counted against the roster limit. Jones can be activated at any time during that window, and since Cedric Benson is serving a one-game suspension this week, there will be an opening.
“It’s what I love to do and I’m just happy to be back,” said Jones. “I can’t wait until Sunday.”
Whether Jones is activated this week or not, the Bengals are counting on him to add depth to the secondary in the near future.
“I think he’s going to help a lot,” said defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. “He’s a good kid that has come in here and done everything that we’ve asked him to do. He’s had some trouble in the past, but for some reason, I have a tremendous relationship with the kid. He needs to have somebody who will discipline him and tell him what’s right and wrong. He’s a tremendous athlete – he’s quick, he’s smart, he’s tough, he’s physical, and all of those things will help us a lot.”
Jones could also help in the return game as he’s returned four punts for touchdowns in his NFL career.
“That’s going to be up to Coach Lewis as to how we use him and when he use him,” said special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons. “If it were up to Adam, he would be in on every play. He’s been in my ear for a lot longer than six weeks – however long he’s been on the PUP list – so he’s anxious to get out there and I’m anxious to get him out there. We just have to be smart about how and when we use him.”
“When Adam is able to come back and play, he can help us as another cover player and he’ll also help us in the return game,” said Coach Lewis. “There are some things that he is very special with, and hopefully he can get back to the level he was at before he was injured last year and play even more consistently. Hopefully, that time will come along pretty soon.”
“I’m just praying to God to keep my body healthy because everything else will work out for itself,” said Jones. “Physically, I’m there.”
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This week’s game at Seattle is Cincinnati’s only game on the west coast this year and the team will travel on Friday instead of Saturday to adjust to the three hour time difference.
“Marvin Lewis is a big proponent of that,” said my radio partner Dave Lapham. “Mike Brown had been like his dad – under Paul Brown we always traveled the day before whether it was east coast, west coast, or no coast. I think it’s a plus. I remember as a player, when we went out to the west coast the day before, I would wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning. Even though it was a 1 o’clock kickoff out there, it seemed like it was a night game because you’re awake for so long. It just throws your body clock off and players are creatures of habit.”
But adjusting to the time difference isn’t the only reason why the Bengals travel a day early.
“It’s a body clock thing but it’s also a thing for families,” said Coach Lewis. “Anytime you’re an eastern team and you go to the west coast, there are a number of people that find their way to the game. So these guys kind of get inundated with family. This way, they get an opportunity to do the things that they need to do with their family, and take care of tickets for Aunt Mildred and Uncle Joe, and then by Saturday, they can get a nap and get focused. By the time we get to Saturday evening, they’ve spent the necessary time with those people and they’re ready to go to sleep. It makes our Saturday and Sunday more normal. If you get in on Saturday, then they’re inundated with all of that stuff. We’re trying to take some of the distraction out.”
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If Carson Palmer’s former teammates enjoyed watching him go 8-for-21 with 3 interceptions in his Oakland Raiders debut, they weren’t saying it to reporters on Monday.
“I don’t think they should have put him in the game,” said safety Chris Crocker. “It wouldn’t have mattered if you were Dan Marino – if you hadn’t played in 10 months and had one week of practice, you’re set up for failure.”
The Raiders have a bye this Sunday, giving Palmer some much-needed time to prepare for a November 6th start against Denver.
“Carson is going to get better—he’s a repetitions guy,” said Lapham. “When he was here, the backups complained that they never got any snaps. Carson is not necessarily a quick study like a Peyton Manning or a Tom Brady – he needs reps and he didn’t come anywhere near being ready to play last Sunday.
“To throw a whole play book at him in three days is not an easy feat for anybody,” said Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. “He’ll get better with time, and the more comfortable he gets with the terminology and his receivers. Coming in on three days of practice…I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.”
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One stat that hasn’t received much attention in the Bengals 4-2 start is average drive start. They’ve won the field position battle in every game this season.
“That’s our number one goal,” said Coach Simmons. “That’s what we strive to do every game and fortunately, we’re 6-for-6. Some games it’s been by a yard or two and other games it’s been bigger. There’s a lot that goes into that and we’ve had some fortunate things happen, but at the end of the day, that’s the only stat that matters to me. What’s the average drive start for the two offenses – that’s something that we want to win and win by a wide margin because that definitely has an impact on the outcome of the game.
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I hope you’ll join Dave Lapham and me for “Bengals Gameplan” on Wednesday night from 6 to 8 on ESPN 1530-AM. Our guests are expected to include Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, Mike Wilkening from Pro Football Weekly, and Mike Salk from ESPN Seattle.
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