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Bengals Bytes (12/15): Not so special teams

Darrin Simmons talks about how the thinning roster has had an effect on the special teams. Marvin Lewis knows this job isn’t forever.

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Cincinnati Bengals v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images

BBP2: Geoff Hobson; how'd the Cincinnati Bengals get here?
On the BBP2, Enquirer beat writers Jim Owczarski and Paul Dehner Jr. are joined by chief Geoff Hobson to discuss what went wrong in 2017 and how far this team is away from being back in the mix in 2018.

Simmons: Bengals special teams have been disjointed all year
Every week, special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons waits to see how challenging his task will be. He doesn’t necessarily learn it by researching the opponent. The more challenging area this season stems from hearing how the roster will shift. None proved more challenging than last week. Injuries up and down the roster trickled to a team of new pieces across the majority of positions on all special teams groups.

Cincinnati Bengals may need roster move before Minnesota Vikings game
The Cincinnati Bengals are still thin at linebacker just two days before heading to Minnesota, with only Vinny Rey and rookies Hardy Nickerson and Jordan Evans practicing for the second straight day. Starters Vontaze Burfict (concussion) and Nick Vigil (ankle) remain out while Kevin Minter missed his second straight day of practice with a hamstring injury.

Paul Daugherty: Will losing define the 2017 Cincinnati Bengals, or finish?
The two signs still cling to the double doors that lead from the Bengals locker room to the field at Paul Brown Stadium. They’re as ironic now as they are appropriate. Black background, orange lettering, a foot wide, three feet deep. Commissioned last spring by Marvin Ronald Lewis. RUN ON YOUR OWN GAS.

Injury reports: Scratch starting backers
The Bengals are facing another rough patch at linebacker in Sunday’s game (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) in Minnesota. On Thursday their starting linebackers remained out and are destined for the inactive list: outside linebackers Vontaze Burfict (concussion) and Nick Vigil (ankle) and middle linebacker Kevin Minter (hamstring).

Top 50 Moments: Bengals rally around Zimmer for emotional victory to stay unbeaten in North
Coaching in unspeakable grief with his father, son and daughter in the stands less than 72 hours after his wife’s sudden death, defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer helps dial up one of the most emotional victories in Bengals history on Oct. 11, 2009. After his unit holds Ravens long ball quarterback Joe Flacco to just six yards per pass in the 17-14 victory, Zimmer gets the game ball from head coach Marvin Lewis. Lewis says he tells the team, “You know how Vikki felt about all of you. She’s up there smiling. Win or lose.’”

Bengals' Marvin Lewis: Coaches realize these jobs are not forever
There is a long-running joke that NFL actually stands for "Not For Long." In the quick-changing world of the league, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is an anomaly. Lewis is the NFL's second-longest-tenured coach behind Patriots coach Bill Belichick. But as Lewis' 15th season in Cincinnati winds down -- and so does his contract -- there are no guarantees he'll return.

Mike Zimmer must put deep connection with Marvin Lewis aside this week
It’s a strategy he’s built from his 23 years as a coach in the NFL. It helps the game not get too personal when he squares off against the people he used to share a sideline with, people who have become close friends and part of his football family.

Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon returns to practice
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon practiced Thursday for the first time since suffering a concussion in the first half of the Dec. 4 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mixon was listed as limited, as was backup Giovani Bernard for the second day in a row with a knee injury.

AFC North Bytes

Ravens vs. Browns will feature a great matchup in the run game
he Pittsburgh Steelers were down a vital player, as linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a spinal injury two weeks ago. This allowed more room to run for Alex Collins, who produced 120 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns. But against the Cleveland Browns, the matchup won’t be a walk in the park.

John Dorsey comes out firing in Cleveland
Former KC Chiefs GM John Dorsey is now in Cleveland and it’s starting off with a bang. Dorsey joined the Browns flagship radio station to talk about taking the GM job and he was very honest when talking about the previous regime in Cleveland.

Patriots Super Bowl odds take hit, MVP race between Tom Brady and Antonio Brown could be decided on Sunday
The New England Patriots lost to the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football, causing a lot of overreactions about the state of the Patriots, but don’t expect Las Vegas to overreact. While the Patriots odds of winning a Super Bowl have dropped, they remain the favorite.

Random Bytes

Adrian Peterson Reportedly Placed on IR by Cardinals Due to Neck Injury
Arizona Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson was placed on injured reserve Thursday with a neck injury. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the news. After signing with the Saints in the offseason, Peterson's tenure didn't go as planned. The 2012 NFL MVP had just 27 carries through the first four games before being traded to the Cardinals prior to Week 6.

Brandon Williams Carted off Field with Head Injury After Scary Play
Indianapolis Colts tight end Brandon Williams suffered an injury while blocking on a punt in the first half of Thursday's game against the Denver Broncos. Mike Chappell of Indy Sports Central tweeted that trainers were "being VERY careful" placing him on a cart and "keeping him very still."

Brock Osweiler Leads Broncos to 25-13 Win vs. Colts on Thursday Night Football
Brock Osweiler entered Thursday night expecting to hold a clipboard. He left with his best passing performance in two years. The Broncos quarterback threw for 194 yards and had three total touchdowns in place of an injured Trevor Siemian, leading Denver to a 25-13 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday.