With the schedule released Tuesday night, Bengals running back Cedric Benson doesn’t buy the notion that the NFL needs to put division games at the tail end of the season to secure a more competitive December.
He thinks coaches of teams that have already clinched a postseason berth should be allowed to sit players. Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis was vindicated for benching Benson in last year’s regular-season finale when Benson came back six days later and set a Bengals playoff record with 169 yards in the Wild Card loss to the Jets.
“If it’s not broke don’t fix it,” Benson said. “Coaches do it so they can have the best in the playoffs. It’s a strategy. You saw what happened. Coaches have to compete against each other, too.” …
What are the first things players look at when they get the schedule?
If you’re wide receiver Antonio Bryant, it is Monday night games.
“You definitely want to get a chance to have the spotlight,” he said. “There are only two teams playing in most of the prime-time games. It’s just an opportunity to light it up for your family and friends. Everybody puts that on their calendar.”
If you’re safety Chris Crocker, it is who and where with an eye on the AFC North games.
“Kind of break the season up into quarters,” he said. “You kind of want to get (the division games) early. The second half of the season you want to get them early also because those games are more important than the rest of the games. You kind of want to get those guys first, especially early in the season when you’re healthy and have everybody ready to go.” …
Left guard Evan Mathis, a restricted free agent, signed his one-year tender. Mathis, heading into his sixth season, started seven games last year in a rotation with Nate Livings when both suffered injuries during the season.
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