The Bengals today placed FB Jeremi Johnson on the injured reserve list with a knee injury. Johnson, who missed the first half of training camp working to get into proper condition, was injured during practice Monday. Johnson finished the entire workout, said head coach Marvin Lewis during a press conference today, but had to undergo arthroscopic surgery this morning.
Reagan Maui'a (6-0, 260) was signed to take Johnson’s spot on the roster. Maui'a started in nine games for Miami last season but was waived by the Dolphins at the end of the preseason. Daniel Coats is the only other FB on the Bengals roster, having been converted from TE, and Lewis indicated Wednesday that Coats would be the starter against the Ravens. Coats started both games against Baltimore last season at TE. The Bengals opened up in a formation with both Coats and Reggie Kelly in the first game at Paul Brown Stadium. Coats started in place of an injured Kelly in the second game.
Coats had been listed as the backup at both FB and TE before Johnson’s injury.
“I’m just getting ready for whatever,” said Coats on Monday prior to practice. “I’m backing up where I can and I’m going to be ready for wherever they might need me.”
Lewis said he has plenty of confidence in Johnson, no matter who is lined up on the other side.
“Ray Lewis and Bart Scott and whoever else they line up where you're supposed to go block,” said Lewis. “He'll be all right.”
CALDWELL RETURNS TO PRACTICE – Rookie WR Andre Caldwell was back at practice Wednesday. Caldwell suffered a left foot sprain against Detroit in the preseason but is hoping to be healthy enough to play on Sunday.
“I’m about 90 percent. I’m getting there,” said Caldwell. “I’ve still got it taped up but it feels good. (Thursday) will be the real test, to see if it feels sore or anything but as of right now it feels good.”
Caldwell went out to practice not anticipating he would be working out with the team but the trainers and coaching staff told him to go back into the locker room and get changed. Caldwell and LB Brandon Johnson (hamstring) were listed as having limited practice today on the official team injury report.
S Chinedum Ndukwe (knee) and DT Pat Sims (toe) will not play against Baltimore. Both spent the afternoon practice session working with the strength and conditioning coaches on their rehabilitation. DE Jonathan Fanene (illness) did not practice but is expected to be available Sunday.
RAVENS INJURIES – Three key Ravens were listed as limited in practice today: TE Todd Heap (knee), RB Willis McGahee (knee) and S Ed Reed (neck). DT Kelly Gregg (knee) did not practice. Starting CBs Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle have also been troubled with ailments lately.
Bengals QB Carson Palmer certainly knows what it would mean should the Baltimore secondary be without Reed, who has a neck impingement that could prevent him from playing.
“The best news I've heard in weeks is that Ed Reed's not going to play,” said Palmer. “I still don't know if that's 100 percent or not. I know he's got a little bit of a neck thing. He's that guy that as you go into game plans, as quarterbacks, you see if he's on the injury report or not. Same thing with (Pittsburgh’s Troy) Polamalu. They're just both guys that do unorthodox things and play out of position but are successful most of the time.
“Every once in a while, they get got, but they're successful most of the time and Ed's been successful against me a number of times. I've gotten him a couple of times, but when No. 20's not back there, it's a little bit of a different feel just because he's so good at reading things, seeing plays develop, seeing formations, recognition, and jumping things that most safeties don't jump and most safeties don't have the freedom to jump.”
PRACTICE SQUAD ADDITIONS – CB Geoffrey Pope and OT Dennis Roland were added to the practice squad on Wednesday. Pope (6-0, 186) spent most of last season on the NY Giants practice squad and then played in two postseason games for the Super Bowl champions. The Giants released Pope at the end of this preseason. Roland (6-9, 325) spent the past two seasons on Tampa Bay’s practice squad but was released by the Buccaneers at the end of this preseason.
OLD MAN ON THE TEAM – The release of Willie Anderson means that LS Brad St. Louis is now the longest tenured Bengal. St. Louis was a seventh-round draft choice of the Bengals in 2000 and has played in 123 games. The only games he has missed were the final five contests of the 2001 season when he was out with a torn groin muscle.
“Watch it,” joked St. Louis when told he was now the old man of the team. “We’ll miss Willie. He was a big rock for this team for a long time.”