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Bengals Bytes (9/29): Eye on the future

Vontaze Burfict talked about how excited he was to watch Carl Lawson last week. Myles Garrett will probably make his debut against the Bengals. The Packers easily took care of the Bears Thursday night.

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Training Camp The Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK

Race for 2018 NFL Draft No. 1 pick: Are Bengals the worst team in Ohio?
Many factors were at play, but the over the past two offseasons, the Cincinnati Bengals allowed their All-Pro left tackle Andrew Whitworth, their quality left guard Kevin Zeitler, and reliable receivers Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu to bolt in free agency.

Fantasy Forecast: Week 4
As we head into Week 4 of the NFL season, injuries are mounting, depth chart changes are looming, and the bye weeks are one week in front of us. Wendell Smallwood is stepping into Darren Sproles role for the Eagles; Marqise Lee has stepped up and is becoming a PPR factor; Chris Thompson is refusing to go away with the Redskins checking down more than using their WRs; finally, new OC Bill Lazor is putting Joe Mixon squarely into the RB2 mix moving forward if he continues to feature him as he did in Week 3.

Top 50 Moments: Boomer Esiason Goes Deep on Final NFL Throw
In the NFL equivalent of Ted Williams homering in his last at-bat, No. 7 uncorks a 77-yard touchdown pass to Darnay Scott on his last NFL throw against Baltimore in the 1997 finale on Dec. 21 at Cinergy Field. But no one knows it is Boomer Esiason's last pass until nearly a month later, when he opts for the Monday Night TV booth instead of a new deal from the Bengals.

Quick hits: Nickerson waived to make room for Burfict; Shawn Williams returns; Garrett hopeful
In order to make room on the roster for Vontaze Burfict the Bengals waived after Thursday’s practice fellow linebacker Hardy Nickerson, a heavily-pursued undrafted free agent from Illinois that impressed the Bengals enough to make the Opening Day roster. Nickerson, a middle linebacker, played in all three games on special teams. If he clears waivers they’ll most likely try to sign him to the practice squad.

Bengals-Browns takes the cake for Tez, Brown
Sunday’s game against the Browns (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) is a big one for Vontaze Burfict for a variety of reasons. For one thing, the winless Bengals need it badly. For another it’s Burfict’s first game of the season after serving the NFL’s three-game suspension. For yet another, Burfict knows the game means something to Bengals president Mike Brown and Brown means something to Burfict.

TDBH: Oh baby, Green makes it look Easy
A.J. Green plans to give his newborn son the shirt off his back tonight after he undresses the Miami secondary on 10 catches for 173 yards and the Bengals’ lone touchdown in a 22-7 victory over Miami at Paul Brown Stadium to take the momentary lead in the NFL receiving yardage race heading into a weekend he’ll be getting to know Easton Ace Green. “We’re going to call him Easy,” says Green after piling up a monstrous 468 yards in the first month of the season. “There’s never a bad day when you come and look at him.” Green doesn’t get the touchdown ball. Instead, he’ll give Easy the No. 18 Rush jersey he wore in his 26th 100-yard game.

Cincinnati Bengals rookie Joe Mixon deserving of extra work
Rookie Joe Mixon still hasn't started a game, but it became pretty clear last week that he's likely going to get the role of starter for the Cincinnati Bengals going forward. Mixon got the largest share of the snaps among the running backs against the Green Bay Packers, playing 34 offensive snaps to Jeremy Hill's 14 and Giovani Bernard's 13. He finished with 18 carries for 62 yards and three catches for 39 yards.

Vontaze Burfict 'fired up' after watching Carl Lawson's breakout game
Cincinnati Bengals rookie Carl Lawson is starting to get the hang of this pass-rushing thing, and people are taking notice. Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was impressed when he watched Lawson on TV last Sunday. Burfict, who was serving a three-game suspension, came away from the loss excited about Lawson's abilities.

Cincinnati Bengals High 5: Five questions with Carl Lawson
With 2.5 sacks against the Packers – which would have been have been 3.5 had teammate William Jackson reached the sideline a half second sooner to avoid a penalty for 12-men on the field – Lawson became the first rookie since 2002 and 11th overall to record at least 2.5 sacks in one of the first three games of his career.

Bengals still fixing 'broken' passing game
There’s really no denying the truth of this Bengals offense. The statistics show it. The film certainly shows it. And the associated coordinator change from Ken Zampese to Bill Lazor solidified it. The offense for the quarterback charged with administering it felt light years away from the baseline established by Andy Dalton’s first coordinator, Jay Gruden, in 2011.

Have Bengals backfield issues been resolved for Week 4?
It was never meant to be a controversy of this magnitude. When the Bengals drafted Joe Mixon to add speed and depth to the running game. Three games into the regular season, the proposed three-back carrousel is not getting the results it was intended to produce. Ken Zampese is gone and there seems to be a leader emerging from the crowd.

5 things Browns coach Hue Jackson had to say about the Bengals
Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson spoke with members of the media who cover the Cincinnati Bengals on Wednesday.

AFC North Bytes

Myles Garrett returns to practice as Browns prepare for Bengals
Myles Garrett gave the 0-3 Browns some reason for hope today by jogging the length of the field and then returning to practice. It means Garrett has a chance of playing Sunday against the 0-3 Bengals, but coach Hue Jackson said Wednesday "we might not play him the whole game.''

Le'Veon Bell On Causes Of Slow Start: 'It Could Be Rust From Not Being In Camp'
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ running game is not near yet what it was a year ago, that much at least we already know. What is more difficult is determining the causes—or more likely the causes. Over the course of the first three games, we have already put up a couple of film sessions examining some instances of failures in the running game.

Brandon Williams remains out of practice for Ravens
The Ravens missed defensive tackle Brandon Williams in last Sunday’s loss to the Jaguars and they’ve missed him on the field during their first two practices this week as well. Williams did not participate in practice on Thursday due to the foot injury that kept him home when the team went to London last weekend. That makes it likelier that they’ll have to play without him against the Steelers this weekend, something that would be a bad development for Baltimore’s defense.

Random Bytes

Pull the Plug: One Player Every NFL Team Should Bench
The NFL is considered the ultimate meritocracy. This is the league's great lie. Individuals often maintain significant roles without the requisite performance to warrant such a position. Contractual obligations or draft status can overrule on-field achievements.

Sam Bradford Ruled Out for Week 4 vs. Lions with Knee Injury
The Minnesota Vikings have already ruled quarterback Sam Bradford out for their Week 4 game against the Detroit Lions due to a knee injury. Per Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer noted Bradford is "feeling better, he's just not ready to play" when he announced the quarterback wouldn't play Sunday.

Packers Earn Blowout 35-14 Win over Bears; Aaron Rodgers Throws 4 TDs
The Green Bay Packers improved to 3-1 Thursday night with a 35-14 win over the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field that was buoyed by a four-touchdown effort from Aaron Rodgers. Coming off three straight 300-yard outings, Rodgers completed 18 of 26 passes for 179 yards. Jordy Nelson operated as Rodgers' top target and hauled in four receptions for 75 yards and a pair of scores.

NFL Must Come Down Strong on Bears' Danny Trevathan After Brutal Hit
Chicago Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan deserves the NFL's most severe punishment despite not being ejected from Thursday's 35-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers after a spear that placed wide receiver Davante Adams in the hospital. Trevathan wasn't considered a dirty player, but he will be now—whether he deserves the designation or not.