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Scouting report: Bengals


The Cincinnati Bengals are the second consecutive opponent seeking their first win of the season to visit the Texans. The Bengals (0-7) have not scored more than 23 points in a game this season.

Marvin Lewis is in his sixth season as the Bengals head coach and has a 42-45 regular season record with the team.


Quarterback: Carson Palmer has been one of the NFL's best quarterbacks the last few seasons, earning two Pro Bowl trips and becoming the fifth-fastest player in NFL history to reach 100 passing touchdowns. But Palmer has been bothered by an injured elbow all season and has been ruled out against Houston. Ryan Fitzpatrick has filled in for Palmer and thrown for 472 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Running back: The Bengals' backfield features two former first-round draft picks with running backs Chris Perry and Cedric Benson. Perry, the starter, was a first-round pick by the Bengals in the 2004 NFL Draft and has run for 253 yards and two touchdowns this season. Benson was a recent free-agent signing and has seen action in three games, rushing for 88 yards on 28 carries.

Wide receiver/tight end: The Bengals' wide receiving corps is loaded with talent. Chad Ocho Cinco/Johnson is a five-time Pro Bowler and also the Bengals' all-time leader in receptions (573) and receiving yards (8,524). Ocho Cinco has 27 receptions for 268 yards and two touchdowns this season. T.J. Houshmandzadeh made the Pro Bowl in 2007 after tying for the NFL receptions lead with 112. Houshmandzadeh has 46 receptions for 458 yards and three touchdowns in 2008. Tight end Reggie Kelly has played in 141 NFL games and has 12 receptions for 73 yards this season.

Offensive line: Left tackle Levi Jones was the Bengals' first-round draft choice in 2002 and has started 86 games for Cincinnati. Left guard Andrew Whitworth is a third-year pro who was selected in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft and has 34 career starts. Center Eric Ghiaciuc is in his third season as the Bengals' starting center. Nine-year veteran Bobbie Williams is in his fifth season with the Bengals and occupies the right guard position. Right tackle Stacy Andrews, brother of Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro guard Shawn Andrews, was a fourth-round selection in 2004.


Defensive line: Defensive tackle Domata Peko, a fourth-round pick in 2006, leads the line with 31 tackles this year. Ten-year veteran John Thornton has started all 83 games in which he's played since joining the Bengals in 2003. He has 15 tackles this season. Next to Thornton is right end Antwan Odom, who had eight sacks for the Tennessee Titans last season and is currently tied for the Bengals' team lead with two sacks. Opposite Odom is left end Robert Geathers, who has 27 tackles and 0.5 sacks.

Linebacker: The Bengals' strong linebacker corps is anchored by middle linebacker Dhani Jones, a team captain who is off to a strong start in 2008. Jones leads the team in tackles with 63. Outside linebacker Keith Rivers, Cincinnati's 2008 first-round draft pick, was hurt in last week's game and has been placed on the injured reserve list. Brandon Johnson, a third-year pro, will fill in for Rivers. Rashad Jeanty, a former CFL player in Ottawa, is in his third NFL season. He has 35 tackles with one forced fumble this year.

Secondary: Cincinnati's secondary consists of players drafted in 2006 and later. In the 2006 and 2007 drafts, the Bengals chose Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall in the first rounds, respectively. Joseph, who played with Texans corners Dunta Robinson and Fred Bennett at the University of South Carolina, has 15 tackles and eight passes defensed this season. Free safety Marvin White, a fourth-round choice in '07 and a former TCU standout, has 37 tackles and an interception. Strong safety Chinedum Ndukwe leads the secondary in tackles with 38. Ndukwe also has one interception and has returned a fumble for a touchdown this season.


Returners: Glenn Holt has returned 28 kickoffs for 744 yards in 2008, giving him a 26.6 yard average for the season. Wide receiver Antonio Chatman returns punts for the Bengals. He has a long of return of 34 yards this season.

Kicking: A Pro Bowl selection in 2005, kicker Shayne Graham has made nine out of 10 field goals this year and is perfect on extra point attempts. Punter Kyle Larson has a 41.9 yard punting average and has had seven of his 41 punts downed inside the 20-yard line.

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