Subplots! Get Your Subplots!

Subplots! Get Your Subplots!

Rey Maualuga is ready to roll. T.O. is ready to slide down the batpole. Shipley and Jones are running with the big boys at receiver. And Nugent vs. Rayner resumes, as the Broncos loom. Preseason Game 2 is tonight at 7 at Paul Brown Stadium. Get up to date with our pregame notes.


--Dave Rayner and Mike Nugent renew their position battle Sunday. Nugent (groin) returned to practice this week after missing last weekend's preseason opener against Dallas. Rayner is expected to kick in the first half and Nugent in the second half. Nugent was ahead of Rayner heading into training camp after failing to miss a field goal during minicamp, while Rayner missed one. But Rayner rallied his cause after the first few days of training camp by making 11 of 12 field goals, then Nugent got hurt.

--Linebacker Rey Maualuga (hamstring) is going to be making his first appearance on the field after missing the Dallas preseason opener. Maualuga will play strong side linebacker, where Michael Johnson excelled last week. Maualuga could see some plays at middle linebacker, where Dhani Jones is the starter. In that event, Johnson will man the strong side. He will continue to play as a down lineman at right end. Johnson had two sacks last week against the Cowboys, one while in a three-point stance and one while standing up.

--With Terrell Owens as Batman and Chad Ochocinco as Robin, more of the Bengals are starting to get superhero nicknames. Roy Williams was nicknamed Colossus by the dynamic duo. Leon Hall said he is still waiting for his nickname. "Well, I'm pretty sure we'll have to go down the list of superhero names and see what's fitting," Owens said.

--Owens said as each day goes by, he is getting more and more comfortable with the offense: "I feel like I'm in the accelerated program because I didn't have any minicamps or OTAs. Once I got signed, I flew out and just hit the field running. But I feel like I have buckled the offense down. I've gotten better every day."

--Defensive tackle Geno Atkins had another good week of practice and has moved up to the second team.

--Receiver Jordan Shipley continued to see time as the slot receiver on the first team and he will be active against the Broncos so Lewis can see him play against first-teamers.

--Jerome Simpson, Matt Jones and Maurice Purify might have separated themselves from the pack in the bid to become the sixth receiver. Jones is going to see a lot more action on Sunday after playing so well in the fourth quarter against Dallas.

--Morgan Trent has the edge on David Jones for the fourth corner, behind No. 3 corner Adam Jones.

--Guard Otis Hudson and center Reggie Stephens have been seeing time on the second-team line, but Hudson collapsed during practice Thursday and is doubtful today.

--Undrafted free agents, cornerback Johnny Sears and linebacker Vincent Rey, continue to play well. Sears hasn't been beat too often and Rey is a tackling machine.

--Fullback Fui Vakapuna (shoulder), center Jonathan Luigs (hip), cornerback Johnathan Joseph (thigh) and halfback Cedric Peerman (leg) were expected to be back in time for Denver, but that could change.

--Safety Tom Nelson (knee) and linebacker Rashad Jeanty (leg) continue to be on the active/PUP list. Nelson could return in 1-2 weeks while Jeanty is out another 2-3 weeks out. Recommended Stories

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