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Bengals Bytes (12/28): Some players show support for Marvin Lewis to return next season

A few Bengals players came out in support of their head coach to return next season. The Bengals running game has turned a corner.

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Detroit Lions v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Cincinnati Bengals injury report
Linebacker Vontaze Burfict, running back Joe Mixon and cornerback Willim Jackson were among the Cincinnati Bengals who did not practice Wednesday as the team move operations indoors at the University of Cincinnati bubble. Burfict (shoulder), Mixon (ankle) and Jackson (knee) suffered injuries in Sunday’s 26-17 victory against Detroit.

Cincinnati Bengals' run game turns the corner
Let’s start with this before heaping too much praise. The Bengals offensive line took too long to figure out pass protection issues this season and far too long to figure out how they can establish any kind of run game this year. Those facts arguably played the largest role in dooming this season. There’s not much room for debate in those facts.

Cincinnati Bengals can play Grinch with Ravens in Week 17
There’s nothing like a nice win to make things seem cozy and warm during the playoff months. When the Bengals knocked off the Detroit Lions to end their postseason aspirations, it was something fans wanted but were unsure about. After all, they were coming to town with Marvin Jones and he was ready to show Bengals brass what a mistake they made. But, with a little luck (and help from some Big Uglies), the Bengals pulled it off. Now, it’s time to play The Grinch Who Stole the Ravens’ Playoffs in Week 17.

Who's Practicing, Who's Not vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The Ravens had a pair of starting offensive players missing from practice Wednesday as they continued their preparation for the Cincinnati Bengals. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin remained sidelined after missing last week’s game with a knee injury. The veteran suffered the injury in Week 15 against the Cleveland Browns and hasn’t practiced since.

Lewis, Dalton News Conference Transcripts 12/27
Yeah, I think there are similarities, and they’ve obviously evolved as the season has gone on. You see what’s working. They’re a really good team. They have a really good defense, and we are going to have a good test this week.

Quick hits: Players back Marv; Injury update; Lewis listens to Vinny
Marvin Lewis got The Question last week. Now with the season finale Sunday (4:25 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) in Baltimore, the players get The Question. “Do you want Lewis back? “He's been a wonderful mentor. He's taught me a lot. He always pushed me. If he doesn't come back it's going to mean a lot to me because he meant a lot to me,” said safety George Iloka before Wednesday’s practice. “If he doesn't re-sign or come back, he left this place better than how he found it."

More than a script for Lewis in Baltimore
The script is Hollywood but the ending is in Baltimore if it is Marvin Lewis’ last game as head coach of the Bengals on Sunday (4:25 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) when they try to knock the Ravens out of the playoffs. After all, it is in Baltimore where Lewis burst on the scene at the turn of the century as one of the NFL’s bright young defensive minds and when he led the Ravens to the NFL’s greatest season of defense in 2000 he became one of the league’s hottest head coaching candidates.

Bengals finish against Ravens who blanked them at the start
A false start on the first snap of the season. Later, an incompletion, a sack and a punt. The Bengals’ first possession of 2017 was a preview of things to come for their offense.

Cincinnati Bengals' Marvin Lewis gets support to return as head coach
In his usual Wednesday press conference, Marvin Lewis once again refused to entertain the idea that anything he’s doing this week – from that regular session with the media to Sunday’s season finale in Baltimore – would be his last as head coach of the Bengals. “I’m not going to reflect if this is my last game or not,” he said, noting with laugh that any week could have been his last game.

AFC North Bytes

Who wins between the 0-16 Detroit Lions of 2008 and today's 0-15 Cleveland Browns?
The Cleveland Browns are one loss from joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams in NFL history to go 0-16. Both teams earned their records, and both had moments that defined those seasons. For the Lions, it was Dan Orlovsky scrambling to make a throw and running out of the back of the end zone. For the Browns, it was either Carl Nassib lining up offside and negating a defensive touchdown by Myles Garrett or Sammie Coates jumping up after a rare catch and emphatically gesturing first down when he was clearly a yard short.

Bud Dupree: James Harrison's Release 'No One's Fault on Our Team'
Pittsburgh Steelers edge rusher Bud Dupree said Wednesday that James Harrison can only blame himself for being released on Saturday. "It's no one's fault on our team, why he got cut," Dupree told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Paul Zeise on 93.7 The Fan. "He cut his self. He came in, he didn't want to do anything that made us better.

Ravens look to revive pass rush vs. Bengals QB Andy Dalton
Considering that Jacoby Brissett had been sacked an NFL-high 49 times after 14 games, the Ravens’ two sacks of the Indianapolis Colts quarterback in Saturday’s 23-16 win at M&T Bank Stadium seemed underwhelming.

Random Bytes

Dez Bryant Says 'Probably Not, Hell No' When Asked If He'd Take Cowboys Pay Cut
As the Dallas Cowboys formulate their plans for the offseason, wide receiver Dez Bryant apparently won't make things easier for the team. According to the Star-Telegram's Clarence Hill, Bryant responded "probably not" and then "hell no" when asked Wednesday if he'd consider taking a pay cut ahead of the 2018 season.

Eli Apple Suspended by Giants for Week 17 for Conduct Detrimental to Team
A tumultuous season for New York Giants cornerback Eli Apple has come to an early end. The team announced Wednesday that Apple will be suspended for Week 17. "We have suspended Eli for a pattern of behavior that is conduct detrimental to the team," interim general manager Kevin Abrams said.

Chris Simms' Week 17 NFL Picks
Picking NFL games in Week 17 can be tricky. It's hard to know which teams are going to rest starters and which are going to put forth inspired performances. Obviously, there are teams that have a lot to play for in Week 17. Some are fighting just to get into the postseason. Others are jockeying for seeding. These teams are going to treat things like a normal week—and they might even ramp up the intensity.