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The Debrief: Bengals vs Steelers Week in Review Edition

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We cover the news, analysis, and previews for of the week, plus quotes and charities.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

1) Cincinnati has two questionable players heading into Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh. Wide receiver John Ross (groin) and cornerback William Jackson (knee) are questionable for Sunday’s game against the Steelers. Ross suffered his injury against the Atlanta Falcons, missing last week’s comeback against Miami, while William Jackson suffered his against the Dolphins. Jackson’s absence could be a major blow of the Bengals secondary, who are preparing for Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

In his past four games against the Bengals, Antonio Brown is averaging 4.8 receptions and 65.8 yards receiving. Smith-Schuster, currently the Steelers leading receiver, has posted six receptions for 56 yards receiving combined in two career games against the Bengals.

If Ross can’t go on Sunday, based on how the team approached last week, it should be assumed that Erickson will work as the No. 3 (in terms of depth, not on-field alignment). Erickson posted three receptions for 24 yards receiving last week — the three grabs ranks second-most in his career and yards ranks third-highest.

The Bengals started with a two-WR and two-TE set last week against Miami, with Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomah in formation. On the next play, Alex Erickson entered the game as the third receiver, joining A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd on the left with Uzomah flanked wide right.

Tyler Kroft is definitely out Sunday. That’s two. Anyone tight ends named Tyler better watch out. Cincinnati has lost two. The rest of the world is on notice. If the Bengals go with three tight ends Sunday, figure Mason Schreck and the recently signed Matt Lengel joining Uzomah.

Also questionable is Cedric Ogbuehi, who appeared on Thursday’s injury report with a wrist. Ogbuehi, the team’s first-round pick from the 2015 NFL draft, has been a healthy-scratch through the first five games.

Bengals Injury/Practice Report Week 7

POS BENGALS INJURY WED THUR FRI STATUS
POS BENGALS INJURY WED THUR FRI STATUS
RB Giovani Bernard Knee/Toe DNP DNP
CB Darqueze Dennard Sternoclavicular DNP DNP
TE Tyler Kroft Foot DNP DNP
C Billy Price Foot DNP DNP
LB Nick Vigil Knee DNP DNP
S Shawn Williams Concussion DNP LP
LB Vincent Rey Hamstring LP LP
TE C.J. Uzomah Shoulder LP LP
WR A.J. Green NIR -- LP
DE Carlos Dunlap Buttock LP FP
LB Jordan Evans Hamstring LP FP
S Clayton Fejedelem Thigh LP FP
OT Cordy Glenn Ankle LP FP
QB Andy Dalton Back FP FP
OT Cedric Ogbuehi Wrist FP FP
WR John Ross Groin FP FP

2) Transactions. As noted above, the Bengals — after losing Tyler Eifert for the season and Tyler Kroft for several weekssigned Matt Lengel off Houston’s practice squad.

Former Super Bowl Champion Matt Lengel previously signed with Cincinnati as a college free agent following the 2015 NFL draft. He spent that season, and part of 2016, on Cincinnati’s practice squad before New England signed him to their 53-man roster — they had just lost Rob Gronkowski. Lengel caught a touchdown pass from Tom Brady on Christmas eve and was part of the roster that won Super Bowl LI.

Cincinnati also signed cornerback Demetroius Cox, who spent the 2017 preseason in Cincinnati, to the practice squad. (Writer’s Note: I erroneously wrote during a Debrief earlier this week that Cox spent time on Cincinnati’s practice squad that year).

Cox replaced cornerback C.J. Goodwin, who was signed off Cincinnati’s practice squad by the Dallas Cowboys.

Thomas Rawls released. With Giovani Bernard, who is out Sunday against Pittsburgh, and Joe Mixon (missed two games earlier this season) suffering dueling injuries, Cincinnati signed Thomas Rawls as a contingency. Rawls, inactive in week three and four, played last week against Miami. Cincinnati released him this week without taking an offensive snap — he had two special teams snaps. That’s it.

Quotes of the Week:

Bengals / Steelers previews:

Charity of the Week:

Carlos Dunlap held his fifth annual spa day for women, benefitting the fight against breast cancer. Our own Rebecca Toback writes:

It’s his 5th annual spa day for women fighting through and who have survived breast cancer. Dunlap and a group of his teammates accompany the women to a spa that he rents out for them to get manicures and pedicures. They also enjoyed dinner from Dunlap’s personal chef and wine.

And of course, Dunlap takes part in the manicures/pedicure, too. Check out his big toe on which he got a breast cancer awareness ribbon painted.

Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson, who took part in Dunlap’s spa day, was also featured on the NFL Network for his work bridging the gap between area youth and law enforcement.

I don’t know if the Bengals will ever win a Super Bowl.

What I do know is that these players are worth celebrating for the class that they bring to an organization that once fight hard to re-build their image. It makes you proud to be a Bengals fan.

Damn proud.