Depleted Bengals secondary bracing for high-powered Packers


Three Cincinnati Bengals cornerbacks missed practice with injuries Wednesday as the team prepares to face the NFL’s No. 1-ranked offense Sunday in the Green Bay Packers.

With Adam Jones (abdomen), Dre Kirkpatrick (hamstring) and Brandon Ghee (concussion) all sitting out, the Bengals made a pair of roster moves to add some depth in the secondary, signing free-agent cornerback Curtis Marsh and re-signing safety Jeromy Miles.

Marsh was a third-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011 and appeared in 22 games the last two seasons. He was with the Eagles in the preseason but suffered a fractured hand and was released Sept. 5. He worked out in the morning and signed his contract in time to participate in practice.

Miles was waived a few hours before Monday night’s game against Pittsburgh, but he cleared waivers and was brought back Wednesday. The Bengals waived linebacker J.K. Schaffer, who was promoted from the practice squad Monday to play special teams, to make room for Miles. Marsh fills the spot vacated by defensive end Robert Geathers, who was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve.

Miles also didn’t practice Wednesday due to a hamstring injury he suffered in the season-opening loss at Chicago.

“We’ll be all right,” defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer said when asked about the prospect of facing Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ three-wide receiver set with only two healthy cornerbacks on the 53-man roster – Terence Newman and Leon Hall.

Rodgers is coming off a franchise-record-tying 480-yard performance against Washington in which wide receivers James Jones (178) and Randall Cobb (128) both recorded single-game career highs in receiving yards.

The Packers have three receivers ranked in the top 20 of the NFL in receiving yards. Cobb is third (236), Jordy Nelson 15th (196) and Jones 19th (178). Jermichael Finley (121) is 10th among tight ends.

“It’s going to be tough,” Hall said. “(Rodgers) has a lot of talent around him. They’ve been together for awhile. We have to try to keep him contained and play great as a team together. The defensive line is going to have a great game along with the linebackers and secondary.”

What makes the Packers receivers so dangerous is what they do with the ball after they catch it. Green Bay leads the NFL in YAC (yards after catch) with 453, including 295 last week in what was the second-largest total in the NFL since STATS LLC started tracking the stat in 1992.

“We’ve talked to our guys about that,” Zimmer said. “They broke a lot of tackles last week. They’re not a big deep-throwing team. They throw it short and catch it and run like crazy. Their receivers all do a great job blocking and they all run very precise routes.”

The last time the Bengals played the Packers, on Sept. 20, 2009, they sacked Rodgers six times and held him to 21 of 39 passing for 261 yards with one touchdown in a 31-24 victory at Lambeau Field. But duplicating that performance will be difficult if Ghee, Kirkpatrick and especially Jones are unable to play.

Jones was able to finish Monday’s game against the Steelers with his injury, but the hamstring forced Kirkpatrick out in the first half and Ghee has not played since suffering the concussion in the second preseason game against Tennessee.


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