Last Sunday during his team’s bye week, Cleveland Browns coach Rob Chudzinski watched the Cincinnati Bengals’ overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens as if he were a regular fan.
He might wish he had that chance again this Sunday. Chudzinski looks forward to watching the matchup everyone wants to see: Bengals receiver A.J. Green versus Browns cornerback Joe Haden.
“A.J. Green is one of the best if not the best receiver in the NFL. It’s a huge challenge for Joe,” Chudzinski said during a conference call Wednesday. “It’s something a true competitor gets excited about and I think Joe feels that way about the challenge this week with A.J.
“Two great players having the opportunity to battle is fun to watch. I’ll have some other things going on so I won’t be able to watch it too closely during the game. I’m sure a lot of people will and it will be a great matchup.”
Haden won the battle on Sept. 29 in the Browns’ 17-6 win. One of the league’s premier shutdown corners now in his fourth season, Haden held Green to seven catches (on 15 targets) for 51 yards with physical defense.
Green’s body language showed his frustration. That’s something he vows not to let happen again.
“It wasn’t my best game. A lot of out of character stuff. I can’t get frustrated like that ever,” Green said. “I’m just looking forward to getting better every week and have a better outcome.”
In five games against the Browns, Green — who leads the NFL with 1,013 yards and is second with 65 receptions — has averaged five catches for 79 yards. He’s caught four touchdowns.
Injury report: Seven Bengals, including five starters, did not practice Wednesday.
Sitting out were linebackers Vontaze Burfict (knee) and Rey Maualuga (knee), safety Chris Crocker (hamstring), center Kyle Cook (shoulder), defensive tackles Devon Still (elbow) and Brandon Thompson (ankle) and guard Kevin Zeitler (foot).
Still has missed the last three games and Maualuga the last two, but all of the others played Sunday in the overtime loss at Baltimore.
Linebacker Michael Boley also has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury, but he practiced on a limited basis Wednesday, as did Terence Newman (ankle).
Tight end Jermaine Gresham, who sat out Sunday with a groin injury, returned to full participation.
Food drive: The Bengals and the Freestore Foodbank are collecting donations for the annual Meijer Canned Food Drive on Sunday. Non-perishable foods and monetary donations will be accepted at each entrance to Paul Brown Stadium by Foodbank volunteers. Last year’s food drive raised 7,893 pounds of food and $16,600 in donations.