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Ravens, 49ers issue first Super Bowl practice report

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

The game remains 11 days away, but the teams who will be playing in it have made available to anyone who may be interested a rundown of the injuries that affected the ability of certain players to practice on Wednesday.

Even if one of the teams didn’t practice at all.

The Ravens, specifically, didn’t.  They provided an approximation of who wouldn’t have practiced if practice actually would have occurred. If practice actually would have occurred, receiver Anquan Boldin (shoulder), linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (ankle, back), cornerback Asa Jackson (thigh), running back Vonta Leach (knee, ankle), linebacker Ray Lewis (triceps), linebacker Albert McClellan (shoulder), defensive end Pernell McPhee (thigh), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (knee), running back Bernard Pierce (knee), safety Bernard Pollard (chest), receiver David Reed (thigh), safety Ed Reed (shoulder), cornerback Jimmy Smith (abdomen), linebacker Terrell Suggs (achilles, biceps), and guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder) would have missed the session.

The 49ers did practice, and two players didn’t: linebacker Ahmad Brooks (shoulder) and tight end Garrett Celek (foot).

Limited in practice for the 49ers were cornerback Tarell Brown (shoulder), running back Bruce Miller (shoulder), and linebacker Aldon Smith (shoulder).

Fully participating in practice despite being injured were linebacker NaVorro Bowman (shoulder), running back Frank Gore (ankle, shoulder), linebacker Clark Haggans (shoulder), guard Mike Iupati (shoulder), running back LaMichael James (back), defensive tackle Justin Smith (elbow, triceps), and linebacker Patrick Willis (shoulder).

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Kiko Alonso: ACL wasn’t injured, no timetable for return

Gavin Escobar, Kiko Alonso AP

When Eagles linebacker Kiko Alonso hurt his left knee in Week Two, there was some fear that he re-injured the ACL he tore before the start of the 2014 season.

That injury kept him out for the entire year, so another similar injury would have been a terrible turn of events for Alonso. He went to see Dr. James Andrews for an evaluation, which Alonso says confirmed his initial feeling that there was no injury to the ACL after he had his knee scoped.

“I knew it wasn’t that bad, because obviously I’ve had it twice,” Alonso said, via the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It didn’t feel like that. I knew I didn’t have it. They went in there and cleaned it out. …Like when you take a car for a clean.”

While Alonso avoided another season-ending injury, he’s not sure when he’ll be able to return to the team. He isn’t practicing and says there’s no timetable for when he’ll be able to get back on the field with hopes it will be sooner rather than later. Until then, the Eagles will rely on DeMeco Ryans, Jordan Hicks and Mychal Kendricks at inside linebacker, although Kendricks is currently sidelined by a hamstring injury.

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Lions owner Martha Ford upset with NFL over bad calls

Martha Ford AP

Lions owner Martha Ford has maintained a very low public profile since becoming the sole owner of the franchise following the death of her husband, William Clay Ford, last year. But privately, Ford is speaking up about NFL officiating.

That’s the word from the Lions’ website, which is highlighting a statement coach Jim Caldwell made during his weekly radio appearance about Ford’s frustration with the bad call that went against the Lions on Monday night.

“I think people were kind of expecting our organization to put out a public statement about how egregious that particular no-call was, and all those kinds of things,” Caldwell said. “And don’t think Mrs. Ford is not upset. Don’t think that she doesn’t tell them [NFL officials] and give them a piece of her mind, because she is there at the league meetings – this week or yesterday. And without question, that’s done. We have a protocol that we go through.”

The NFL has told teams not to criticize the officials publicly, but the Lions are tiptoeing around that directive with Ford complaining privately and the team website spotlighting Caldwell’s confirmation of Ford’s complaints.

However they’re expressing their concerns, the Lions have every right to be miffed. Their 2014 season ended with a bad call in a playoff loss to the Cowboys, and now their 2015 season has been dealt a crippling blow in Seattle. Ford absolutely should complain to the league about that.

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Pettine tiptoes around crucial offside call in San Diego game

Mike Pettine AP

Plenty has been said in the last day regarding whether the NFL admitted to an officiating error late in Sunday’s game between the Browns and Chargers. Browns cornerback Tramon Williams contend the league acknowledged the blunder; the league has denied it.

On Thursday, Browns coach Mike Pettine opted to say as little as possible about it.

“It is our policy, I am not going to comment on the officiating reviews,” Pettine told reporters on Thursday. “Just on a general statement on that — I have said this before – I think [NFL V.P. of officiating] Dean Blandino and his crew in New York do an excellent job. They are very candid when mistakes are made — I am not saying that is the case here — but just in general, they are very open about it. That crew in New York is working hard to get the officiating right, and we are very appreciative of it. I don’t get into the details of the report for obvious reasons, but I think also even if you took the TV copy of that play or had access to the All-22 and just watched it in slow motion, it is such a difficult thing to officiate. Imagine putting yourself on the line in front of it and trying to gauge if somebody moves exactly and nobody else moves what it looks like. That is behind us. I have had good communication with the league about it. I feel good about their stance and I feel good about where we are with it.”

Technically, the officials got it wrong. But Tramon Williams’ jump was so perfect, his timing so much better than everyone else’s, that he looked offside. Only careful inspection of the All-22 tape shows that Williams begins to move just as the snap process is starting.

It’s all the more reason for the NFL to embrace replay in all situations where it can fix a mistake. Not every mistake is an error; some mistakes happen because the naked eye can’t process the speed of the game properly. In those cases, it’s even more important to rely on any and all available technologies.

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Report: Washington may play a 2016 home game in London

GettyImages-484657144.0 Getty Images

When it comes to selling football tickets (or, you know, anything), the law of supply and demand applies. In Washington, the supply has been outweighing the demand in recent years. And so the time possibly has come for owner Daniel Snyder to shrink the inventory.

According to Mike Jones and Liz Clarke of the Washington Post, Washington may be exporting a 2016 home game to London. Other teams are under consideration. An announcement could come by next month.

The NFL is expected to stage three games in London next year, with a fourth international game played in Germany or Mexico.

As noted by the Post, Washington is one of the 12 teams that have not yet played a regular-season game in London. Eventually, more and more teams will have to give up home games, if the NFL intends to continue to play more and more games in other countries. At some point, the league will have to expand the supply of total regular-season games if it ever hopes to persuade teams with a high demand on tickets to host a game somewhere other than their home stadium.

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Jeff Burris gets a promotion on Dolphins’ defensive staff

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As Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell continues to shake up the coaching staff he inherited from the fired Joe Philbin, former NFL player Jeff Burris has received a promotion.

Burris’s title has changed from “defensive assistant” to “assistant defensive backs coach.” That might sound like a minor distinction akin to the difference between “assistant regional manager” and “assistant to the regional manager,” the Dolphins’ website makes clear that the move is considered a promotion.

Burris was an All-American at Notre Dame and a first-round draft pick of the Bills in 1994, and he played cornerback for 10 seasons in the NFL with the Bills, Colts and Bengals. He has been with the Dolphins since 2013 and has previously served on the coaching staffs at UMass and on the United Football League’s Sacramento Mountain Lions, as well as having a coaching internship with the Bills.

The Dolphins have also confirmed, as PFT reported, that Lou Anarumo has been promoted to defensive coordinator and Kevin Coyle has been fired.

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Victor Cruz to meet with doctors next week

Victor Cruz, Odell Beckham AP

The Giants won’t have wide receiver Victor Cruz in the lineup against the 49ers on Sunday night and they should have a better idea of when he’ll be able to make his first appearance of the 2015 season next week.

That’s when Cruz is scheduled to have his injured calf reevaluated by doctors. Cruz had platelet-rich plasma therapy done on the calf last week and explained on Thursday, via Jordan Raanan of, that doctors said it would take 10 days to see if it worked well enough for him to ramp up his rehab work.

Cruz doesn’t need that examination to give him confidence in his ability to come back and help the team this season.

“I’m thoroughly convinced at some point this year I’ll be back on the field playing at high level,” Cruz said.

While Cruz likely has plenty of company in believing he’ll be back on the field at some point this season, the high level part of things is going to be a harder sell until he’s actually able to do it.

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Ahmad Brooks won’t play this week after death of sister

San Francisco 49ers v Oakland Raiders Getty Images

Injury reports come and go, and news of players in and out of lineups can make our eyes glaze over sometimes.

And sometimes, you remember these are human beings playing games.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks won’t play this week against the Giants, after the death of his sister.

Agent Greg Williams said that Brooks’ 40-year old sister Casandra died of Lupus.

Brooks has been having a tumultuous last few months, including facing a misdemeanor count of sexual battery, though the league chose to not place him on paid leave, and he has played as normal for the 49ers so far this season.

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Jason Peters says he’s playing this week

Jason Peters AP

Eagles coach Chip Kelly raised the possibility that the Eagles would be without left tackle Jason Peters against the Saints this week, but Peters shared a different opinion of his chances of playing through the quadriceps injury that knocked him out of the Week Four loss to the Redskins.

Kelly said that he didn’t want to be caught short on players again this week after watching Peters leave the loss to Washington after just a handful of snaps, although Peters says that’s not something that Kelly has to worry about. Peters, who was a full participant in Thursday’s practice, said that he’s going to play against New Orleans and explained why he won’t be forced out of the game again this week.

“Because I am who I am,” Peters said, via Reuben Frank of CSN Philly.

It’s always hard to argue with an answer that worked so well for Popeye, but the Eagles will probably still be weighing all of their options in the next few days before deciding whether to put Peters in the lineup on Sunday. The risk of losing him mid-game (and perhaps aggravating the injury) and forcing an already beleaguered offensive line to shuffle its pieces on the fly may be one they are unwilling to take.

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Dolphins make Anarumo defensive coordinator

Dolphins Getty Images

The Dolphins will promote defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo to defensive coordinator, a source told PFT.

The team fired Kevin Coyle as defensive coordinator Thursday, three days after firing head coach Joe Philbin and replacing him with interim coach Dan Campbell.

Anarumo, 49, has been with the team as defensive backs coach since 2012. He previously was a college assistant coach for 23 years and spent 2004-2011 at Purdue.

The Dolphins are off this weekend after falling to 1-3 in London last week. They play at the Titans on Oct. 18.

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Report: Dolphins parting ways with Kevin Coyle

Kevin Coyle AP

Before the Dolphins fired coach Joe Philbin on Monday, there were reports that had defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle on the chopping block as well.

During interim coach Dan Campbell’s introductory press conference, he said he wasn’t ready to talk about potential changes to the staff which meant Coyle was still employed if not exactly safe and sound in the job. Reports that the Dolphins had reached out to Jim Schwartz, Mike Smith and Greg Schiano about taking over their defense didn’t do much to make things any cozier.

The other shoe reportedly dropped on Thursday. Albert Breer of NFL Media reports that the Dolphins have decided to fire Coyle.

There’s no word on who will take over the Dolphins defense with Coyle out of the picture. Whoever does get the reins will be tasked with bringing together a defense that balked at playing Coyle’s scheme and held a closed-door meeting with coaches last week about making changes to it.

The new coach will also be tasked with finding a way to get big-ticket defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to perform at a level closer to the one he was at in Detroit before signing a huge contract with Miami as a free agent this offseason. It’s a full plate with a little more than a week to go before the Dolphins are back on the field.

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Roddy White on his role with Falcons: “It’s really not a controversy”

Roddy White ,Devin Hester AP

OK now, it’s settled — Roddy White is totally and completely gruntled.

The Falcons veteran wide receiver said Thursday that he met with coach Dan Quinn about his role in the offense, after comments that could reasonably be construed as dissatisfaction with becoming a third option in the passing game. And he swears he’s OK with that.

It’s really not a controversy,” White said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “My role is what it is. I’ve talked to DQ and we’ve gotten past that. It’s just certain things that just get out into the media and certain people just take it way too far. I’m on positive note. We are 4-0 and that’s what it is right now.”

Of course, that’s a whole lot different than earlier this week, when he expressed displeasure with the amount of blocking he was doing, now that Leonard Hankerson has emerged as the No. 2 option behind Julio Jones.

White, the Falcons all-time leading receiver, has six catches for 92 yards for the undefeated Falcons. And at the moment, he has other concerns, as he missed practice Wednesday to be with his mother, who had surgery. White said she’s “doing well,” which is certainly good news.

But his position coach also said White’s not grumbling behind the scenes.

“My room is good,” veteran assistant Terry Robiskie said. “Everybody is good. Everybody is having fun. Rod is the same guy. He doesn’t catch his 12, 20 balls, but at the same time we score a touchdown he’s high-fiving we were up in the third quarter the starters were done.”

“I saw him on the sideline high-fiving with Eric Weems, joking with Eric Weems. Winning is fun. No matter what a prideful guy you are, when getting your’re ass whipped, ain’t no pride in that. You are miserable.”

And White, no matter what he might have said, apparently is not.

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Jay Gruden: Matt Jones hasn’t lost my trust

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 04: Matt Jones #31 of the Washington Redskins gets tackled by Fletcher Cox #91 of the Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField on October 4, 2015 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Evan Habeeb/Getty Images) Getty Images

In Week Two, rookie running back Matt Jones had 146 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in the Redskins’ 24-10 victory over the Rams.

Jones also lost a fumble in that game and he lost another one near the end zone in the team’s Week Three loss to the Giants, a performance that was followed by a drop in playing time against the Eagles in last week’s victory. Coach Jay Gruden said that the reduction in snaps wasn’t because the team lacks faith in Morris’s ability to hold onto the football.

“He’s never lost my trust,” Gruden said, via Rich Tandler of “A couple of weeks ago it was Alfred [Morris] who was in my doghouse and he’s not. It’s just the way to works out with the handoffs and the carries. I like both of those guys.”

Public comments from coaches about playing time are usually best taken with a grain of salt, but the first four weeks bear out the fluidity in the Washington backfield. Morris has seen the most snaps three times and played less than Jones and third-down back Chris Thompson against the Giants. Thompson barely played against the Rams, but has averaged 31 snaps in the other three games of the season.

Losing fumbles isn’t a good look for any back and it’s a particularly bad one for a rookie, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Jones back in the mix against Atlanta this weekend.

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Is Justin Gilbert’s next move to offense?

Justin Gilbert AP

Browns cornerback Justin Gilbert was the first draft pick of the Ray Farmer/Mike Pettine regime. That often gets lost as 14 picks later, the Browns selected a much higher-profile player, Johnny Manziel.

Gilbert has been lost in the shuffle since.

He’s been in Pettine’s doghouse both last season and this season, and even though he returned an interception of Andrew Luck for a touchdown last December, his on-field success has been limited. This season, he’s barely been on the field at all except to return kickoffs. Still, the Browns aren’t giving up on Gilbert because of their investment in him — and because he’s big and fast and has tools the team thought it could develop when it drafted him.

Gilbert seems to be a natural with the ball in his hands, and that prompted a reporter to ask Pettine Thursday if the team has considered moving Gilbert to the offensive side of the ball. Pettine said the Browns have used Gilbert as a receiver at times in practice because of a shortage of available players.

And he doesn’t look out of place,” Pettine said.

Pettine was just answering a question, so there may be nothing deeper here. Or, maybe it’s worth a shot because the Browns aren’t using him on defense and are still searching for answers at receiver with the Dwayne Bowe Experiment yielding nothing and the Terrelle Pryor Experiment having been ended last month.

Later Thursday, Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said moving Gilbert to receiver is something he and Pettine “have talked about and are going to explore.”

Gilbert suffered a hip pointer in August during a joint practice with the Bills that lingered into September. He debuted in Week 3 vs. the Raiders, playing two special teams snaps and none on defense, and with the Browns short on cornerbacks last week in San Diego the coaches chose Johnson Bademosi, generally a special teams player, to play in nickel and dime defenses over Gilbert. Pettine wasn’t happy with Gilbert following a road rage incident in September for which he was cited but not arrested.

Last February, Farmer said Gilbert was dealing with a “very personal” issue that compounded his struggles as a rookie. The Browns have time to still get return on their investment, and Gilbert has time to rebound, too. But the question of whether it’s worth trying a position change, even on a part-time basis, to jumpstart what’s been a disappointing career is a valid one.

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Former Packers, Colts coach Lindy Infante dies at 75


Lindy Infante, who was chosen the NFL’s coach of the year in 1989 in Green Bay and later coached the Colts, has died at the age of 75.

Infante was a well-regarded offensive mind who led the Packers to a 10-6 record in that 1989 season, ending a long run of futility in Green Bay that had seen the Packers fail for 16 straight years to win more than eight games. He was fired as head coach of the Packers after going 4-12 in 1991. He returned as a head coach in 1996 with the Colts and took the team to the playoffs in his first season, but he was fired after going 3-13 in his second season. (The Colts had the worst record in the NFL that year and would go on to select Peyton Manning with the first overall pick in the draft.)

Infante played college football at Florida, where he was a very good running back. He’s a member of the school’s Hall of Fame. Infante also started his coaching career as an assistant at Florida and had several college jobs before he left for the NFL. In 1982 he was the offensive coordinator of a Bengals team that made it to the Super Bowl, and the next year he left the NFL to become head coach of the Jacksonville Bulls of the United States Football League. After the USFL went belly-up, Infante became offensive coordinator of the Browns and did well there for two years, leading the Packers to hire him.

Although Infante’s career head-coaching record was only 36-60, he’ll be remembered for innovative offenses that moved NFL passing games forward.

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Sean Lee returns to practice

Devonta Freeman, Sean Lee AP

The Cowboys have defensive end Greg Hardy and linebacker Rolando McClain back from suspensions, which gives them a bit more to work with against the Patriots on Sunday.

They may also have linebacker Sean Lee on the field after he was forced out of last weekend’s loss to the Saints after suffering a concussion. Lee returned to practice on Thursday and participated in position drills during the portion of practice open to the media.

If Lee avoids setbacks and gets cleared to play on Sunday, it will mark the first time that he and McClain are in the lineup at the same time for the Cowboys. Lee missed all of last season, McClain’s first in Dallas, with a torn ACL.

The Cowboys are still waiting on defensive end Randy Gregory to return from an ankle injury to make their defense whole. He sat out Thursday’s practice along with wide receivers Dez Bryant and Brice Butler and tight end James Hanna.

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Patriots extend running back Dion Lewis for two years

Dion Lewis AP

Dion Lewis went from out of the league to starting the opener for the defending Super Bowl champions.

And now he has a measure of stability to go with it.

According to Field Yates of ESPN, the Patriots have given Lewis a two-year contract extension, which keep him with the team through the 2017 season. He got a $600,000 signing bonus, and can earn up to $1.8 million in incentives in 2016 and 2017.

Lewis has remained productive after presumptive starter LeGarrette Blount returned from his one-game suspension. He has the kind of versatility the Patriots always seem to find, averaging 4.9 yards per carry and showing ability as a receiver out of the backfield. He has fumbled, so he could always fall back in the doghouse, but for now he’s been a find for them.

And to think, last season he was deemed unworthy to be a Brown or a Colt.

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NFL set to test boundary cameras at MetLife Stadium this year

Belichick Getty Images

As much as it would certainly pain the NFL to admit it, Patriots coach Bill Belichick probably has a point with his “challenge everything” theory.

But they’re about to try out another one of his ideas.

According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, the league is about to test his idea of cameras along the boundaries of the playing field to assist with replay, trying it out at Jets and Giants games this year.

“It will be tested at MetLife Stadium a bit later this season, providing us with 10-12 games worth of data on viability, impact, and feasibility,” NFL spokesman Michael Signora said.

That’s a significant step considering the previous excuse was that it was too expensive and could potentially interfere with sight lines. And while pylon cameras may be of little use, goal-line technology in soccer and the hawkeye system used in tennis has made officiating in those sports more accurate, so any step in that direction for the NFL would be worthwhile.

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Lions sign Ishmaa’ily Kitchen

Ishmaa'ily Kitchen AP

The Lions signed defensive tackle Andre Fluellen on Wednesday and they added another veteran at the position on Thursday.

The team announced that they have signed former Brown Ishmaa’ily Kitchen to their 53-man roster. Defensive end Phillip Hunt was released to make room for the new arrival.

Both moves come after the team placed Tyrunn Walker on injured reserve with a broken leg suffered in Monday night’s loss to the Seahawks. Doubling down on the additions suggests that the team is less than sure of Haloti Ngata’s status. Ngata injured his calf against Seattle and missed practice on Wednesday.

Kitchen spent the last three seasons with Cleveland and saw action in 40 games for the Browns. He had 78 tackles in those appearances. In addition to the newcomers, the Lions have rookie Gabe Wright, Caraun Reid and Jermelle Cudjo on the depth chart.

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PFT Live: Coaching hot seat, Week Five picks

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We had our first coaching casualty of the 2015 season this week when the Dolphins fired Joe Philbin four games into his fourth season on the job.

There may not be any other firings during the season, but there will almost certainly be other coaches losing their jobs once the season comes to an end. On Thursday’s PFT Live, Mike Florio will take a look at which coaches are in danger of being on that list when he takes the temperature on hot seats around the league.

Thursday also brings the start of Week Five, which means it is time for Florio and Michael David Smith to reveal their picks for all of this week’s games.

As always, we also want to hear what PFT Planet thinks. Email questions at any time or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app. You can also watch a simulcast of the first hour through the links at PFT.

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Marvin Jones: Andy Dalton trusts us to go and get deep balls

Andy Dalton AP

Through the first four weeks of the season, no quarterback in the NFL has averaged more yards per attempt than Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.

As you’d probably guess, the biggest reason for that has been Dalton’s sharp improvement on deep balls from where he was last season. Dalton has already connected on 20 passes over 20 yards and five passes over 40 yards after having 33 and seven in those two categories over the entire 2014 season, something that wide receiver Marvin Jones believes is a result of his trust in the receiving corps.

“We’re at a point right now where Andy really trusts us to be there, even if we haven’t separated from the corner, he knows we’re gonna get the separation,” Jones said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “That’s what it’s all about — just run and homie go get it. That’s what it is. That’s pretty much all everything is. And that comes with trust, the trust that we’re gonna run and we know he’s going to put it out there for us and he knows when he puts it out there we’re gonna get it.”

Eight different Bengals receivers have gained over 20 yards on receptions already this season, adding a big play element to the Bengals offense that hasn’t been a big enough part of their attack in recent years.

They’ll be trying to keep it going against a very good Seahawks defense this weekend, which makes for this weekend’s most appealing matchup.

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