Wednesday morning links and notes -- HDJ waived, Blackstock exempted

Watching the Presidential returns last night was eerily similar to watching the NFL Draft; waiting for a period of to end, for the returns (draft picks) with plenty of long-term analysis, projects and assessments about what state (team) would pick which candidate (player); including how much influence this pick (candidate) would have on the long-term vision of the country (team/NFL).

The Bengals waived Herana-Daze Jones after reaching an injury settlement while the team was given a roster exemption for Darryl Blackstock.

Pete Prisco lists the Bengals 28th, three spots higher than last week after Cincinnati's 21-19 win.

Pro Football Weekly's mid-season team report.

Biggest surprise: MLB Dhani Jones has brought a steadying presence to the defense. Through eight games, he was on pace to notch a career high in tackles. Not bad for a 30-year-old linebacker whose career appeared in jeopardy after the Saints released him before the ’07 season.

Biggest disappointment: There’s no shortage of candidates for this award, but we’ll give the nod to WR Chad Ocho Cinco, whose lack of production has been stunning. Whether you blame it on an offseason of distractions or the ongoing absence of QB Carson Palmer because of an elbow injury, it has been a poor season for a player regarded as one of the very best at his position.

Player to watch: The Bengals signed RB Cedric Benson on Sept. 30; by the end of October, the starting job was his. That should give you an idea of how poorly Week One starter Chris Perry was playing, but it’s also a reflection of how intrigued the Bengals are with Benson, who has a chance to work his way into the team’s 2009 plans with a strong finish.

Team MVP: The Bengals never have needed WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh more than they do this season, and he has found a way to rank among the NFL’s leaders in catches despite Palmer’s injury and some unsteady play from Ryan Fitzpatrick. He has been the most dependable player on an offense that has lost its way.

Fearless prediction: As nightmarish as this season has been, the Bengals’ effort rarely has been a problem. What’s more, they have played several top-caliber opponents very tough. With that elusive first win likely to boost their confidence, don’t be surprised if the Bengals pull off another upset or two down the stretch.

Keith River's gets Gil Brandt's nod at linebacker for his midseason all-rookie team.

Chick Ludwig is proud of what Whitworth did defending himself.

Bengals top-five NFL draft busts.

Former Bengals head coach Sam Wyche received 6,478 votes over Democratic challenger Wesley Burbage for the Pickens County Council District 3 seat. He promoted better roads, school and more jobs.

Crazy Canton on Lemar Parrish.

Scout.com mocks that the Bengals will draft Andre Smith, tackle from Alabama.

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