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The Debrief: Good news on the Bengals’ infirm

The Bengals are optimistic that several of their injured players are making quick recoveries. The John Ross narrative continues, and will continue until he breaks out. Dre Kirkpatrick is taking Sunday personal. Kicking a dead mullet. And more.

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Carolina Panthers Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

1) John Ross feeling the locker room love. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and head coach Marvin Lewis stood behind John Ross on Wednesday, as you’d expect. Lewis concluded that Ross just needs to “free his mind”, causing Cincinnati scribes to spasm with hip “En Vogue” references. I’d have gone with Yoda. Because, duh. We delve more into Ross in a moment.

2) Marvin Lewis: “We’ll have all hands on deck soon.” Talk about encouraging. Lewis — grumpy on Monday and now the shinning example of optimism — projected confidence in the progress of Joe Mixon and Billy Price. Now include the eventual returns of Vontaze Burfict, Preston Brown, Michael Johnson, and A.J. Green, and there could be a reckoning coming in the NFL. Did that give you goosebumps?

4) Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is taking this week a bit more personal, writes Katherine Terrell. Dre played with Julio Jones (at Alabama), played with Mohamed Sanu (with the Bengals), and Calvin Ridley also played at Alabama. “This week I feel like it’s going to be a little extra something,” said Kirkpatrick. He also told Rebecca Toback that Week 4 vs. Atlanta was the game he was most looking forward to this year, other than the Steelers games.

Bengals Week 4 Practice/Injury Report

C Billy Price Foot DNP DNP DNP OUT
CB Dre Kirkpatrick Groin LP DNP FP
HB Giovani Bernard Thigh LP LP FP
OT Cordy Glenn Knee LP LP FP
LB Preston Brown Ankle LP FP FP
CB Darqueze Dennard Calf LP FP FP
WR A.J. Green Pelvis LP FP FP
DE Michael Johnson Knee LP FP FP
TE Tyler Eifert Back FP FP FP
TE Tyler Kroft Finger -- FP FP

To have with your chamomile tea (for your reading pleasure): Since Everyone is Doing Film Now Edition

The John Ross narrative continues for now. As we mentioned earlier, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton he has “full confidence in (John Ross). There’s a reason he’s here. There’s a reason we drafted him as high as we did.” Ross has taken a bit of heat for his slow start, compounding his doghouse residency from last year.

While some argue patience (a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with), it’s important to note that Ross’ real-time learning experiences are happening during regular season games. These are the growing pains inexperienced receivers are dealing with, and the impact can be felt throughout. Games in Week 3 can be equally as important as any game on the calendar, save for lose and your out scenarios. Carolina is a common opponent in the division and the third tiebreaker.

Regardless, solely blaming Ross for the loss seems silly and a bit short-sighted (did you SEE the Bengals defense); it doesn’t seem like many people are subscribing to that narrative right now anyway.

That being said, Cincinnati needs to be mindful about relying on players who offer their best path to success. While you could argue Ross hasn’t proven a tremendous amount of success, you can’t relatively conjecture that others are. Josh Malone allowed a cornerback to run through him, causing a deflection and an Efe Obada interception. We have no idea how Auden Tate (aka, this year’s Jake Kumerow) will respond, and he’s been inactive all season. Then again, how would anyone know how he’d respond if he’s not given the chance? Then again again, Bob Bicknell, Bill Lazor, and Marvin Lewis have a strong idea on how their players would respond — more so than we do, despite PFF telling us one thing and NFL Game Pass telling us another.

Sadly, this conversation will sustain itself until Ross breaks through. He’s a former No. 9 pick. We hold first-rounders to a higher standard. Maybe that’s this weekend against Atlanta, who have already lost both starting safeties, Keanu Neal and Deion Jones, to injuries. Maybe that’s Steelers week. Who knows if ever. He has to keep playing if those opportunities come. That being said, if he becomes a liability, Cincinnati can’t sacrifice regular season games to teach lessons. It’s a high-stakes game every week — either produce, or get out.

Charity of the Day:

One last thing: