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Bengals Bytes (11/18): Don’t expect to see AJ McCarron this season

It may make sense to see if AJ McCarron can provide a spark at some point, but don’t expect the Bengals to pull the trigger and bench Andy Dalton. Adam Jones will be out against the Broncos.

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals injury report for Denver Broncos game
Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones missed his third consecutive practice Friday and has been ruled out for Sunday’s game at Denver. The Bengals could be thin at corner with William Jackson listed as questionable with the toe injury he suffered in Sunday’s loss at Tennessee, although Williams continues to improve. He missed Wednesday’s practice, was limited Thursday and went full Friday.

Bengals and Broncos struggling heading into matchup
The Denver Broncos are having problems converting in the red zone. The Cincinnati Bengals are struggling big-time to run the football. The 3-6 teams are trying to iron out their troubled offenses as much as possible heading into Sunday’s matchup. Both clubs will be challenged to move the ball against top-tier defenses.

Walkthru: Predicting Bengals at Broncos
Time for predictions as the Bengals play in Denver this week, 4:25 p.m. ET kick on CBS. The prediction video features some purposely awkward editing magic, with Jim out to Denver early on assignment this week while I held down the fort in Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati Bengals should use the rest of 2017 season to experiment
Andy Dalton is a pretty good quarterback. In seven seasons, he has won 58 percent of the time. The Bengals have made the playoffs in five of those seasons. By NFL standards, that’s pretty successful. Dalton has completed 63 percent of his passes and thrown 66 more touchdowns than interceptions. Pretty good numbers for what has been a pretty good team.

Vontaze Burfict of Cincinnati Bengals confirms cursing, provocation by referees
Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict says NFL officials are in fact trying to provoke him.vIn his first comments since he was ejected Sunday for making contact with an official, Burfict confirmed a report earlier this week by ESPN's Adam Schefter that game officials are trying to get him to react.

Matchup of the Game: Miller Time as Smith serves stability for O-line
Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander has graded Smith in all of his 90 games with the club stretching back to when they took him with the sixth pick in the 2009 draft and says Smith’s outing last week in Tennessee is one his better games.

Slants and screens: Tez to steer clear of refs, misses WILL spot; AJones out for Sunday, WJax ?
While confirming Friday that officials have talked to him disrespectfully and cursed at him, Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is looking to stay out of their way after he got ejected from last Sunday’s game in Tennessee for coming into physical contact with one of them.

Top 50 Moments: Corey Dillon Breaks Single-Game Rushing Record
This is why they play the games. The Broncos show up on Oct. 22, 2000 at Paul Brown Stadium with a 4-3 record and the NFL's second-best run defense ready to feast on a winless Bengals team still coping with the resignation of head coach Bruce Coslet 28 days before and the elevation of 63-year-old defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.

Bengals at Broncos Game Notes
Past the halfway point of the season and standing at 3-6, the Cincinnati Bengals certainly realize that time is running out for the possibility of turning their 2017 fortunes around and making a run for the playoffs. But if that notion creates senses of urgency and unease, it also should come with some feelings of hopefulness and opportunity. Until the math says otherwise, while it is true that the Bengals’ playoff hopes will diminish with each additional loss moving forward, it also is true that, if the team initiates a winning streak this week, each victory likewise will re-energize and renew those same aspirations.

TDBH: Bengals survive chaotic final seconds to stop Namath on doorstep
In the most chaotic ending in franchise history the Bengals stay in the thick of the AFC Wild Card race today when Jets quarterback Joe Namath sees what he thinks are two touchdown passes taken away in the final 39 seconds and Bengals linebacker Bill Bergey stones Jets running back Brice McCain on the half-foot-line on what turns out to be the game’s final play for Cincinnati’s 20-14 victory. Namath can’t get another play off with five seconds left when he doesn’t get a handle on the snap and the Jets are called for illegal procedure as the game ends in a hail of flags with the Jets seething that the Bengals came charging across the line too soon.

Don't expect AJ McCarron to play down the stretch for Cincinnati Bengals
Every NFL team has played at least nine of its 16 regular-season games as the 2017 campaign enters its 11th Sunday. The teams that will be racing down the stretch towards the postseason and those that will be playing out the string have come into clear focus. The Cincinnati Bengals own a 3-6 record heading into their road game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. The Bengals are 4.5 games behind the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North standings and two games out of the conference's final playoff spot, with five teams between them and that wild-card invitation to the postseason.

AFC North Bytes

Justin Tucker's kicking rooted in determination -- and a backyard tree
When Justin Tucker lines up for a kick at Lambeau Field on Sunday, it's curious to think what has been more amazing: the unprecedented numbers he has already put up or the self-made path it took to get him to this point with the Baltimore Ravens. Tucker's All-Pro kicking can be traced back to a fortuitous Google search, some PVC pipes, a one-man YouTube video and, some may say, a touch of arboreal fate.

Best fit for Josh Rosen is the Browns
We don't know who will be running the Browns next season or what that offense will look like, but I see Rosen as having the personality to walk into the locker room and believe he's the man to turn this franchise around. I told a Cleveland radio station this week that Rosen's confidence and personality could make him the Troy Aikman of the Browns.

Titans Mike Mularkey Upset About Incorrect Post-Fumble Spot Against Steelers
Did the Pittsburgh Steelers catch an officiating break late in the first half of their Thursday night game against the Tennessee Titans? It certainly appears that way and Titans head coach Mike Mularkey certainly wasn’t happy after the game ended about what transpired following a fumble by Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown with less than one minute remaining in the first half.

Random Bytes

Giants, Jets among 20 teams scouting Darnold-Rosen matchup
Twenty NFL teams are sending scouts to Saturday's UCLA-USC game, which will feature Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen in a matchup of arguably the top 2 QB prospects in the country.

Jerry Jones Apologizes for Racially Insensitive Remark Captured in Video
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones apologized Friday after a video posted by The Blast showed him making a racially insensitive remark at the Warwick Melrose Hotel in Dallas in 2013. The video, which was reportedly taken after Jones was asked to provide a videotaped message to a woman who was about to get married, shows the 75-year-old saying the following: "Jennifer, congratulations on the wedding. Now, you know he's with a black girl tonight, don't you?"

Top 10 rosters by top-end talent; QB questions for Bills, Vikings
When Detroit Lions safety Glover Quin suggested last Sunday that the Cleveland Browns "probably" have better athletes than 25 of the NFL's 32 teams, the football world naturally met his comments with quizzical looks. How could a team with an 0-9 record have superior athletes than two-thirds of the league?