One day after his Cincinnati Bengals demolished the New York Jets 49-9, defensive end Wallace Gilberry sat on the stool in front of his locker and looked the two reporters standing in front of him squarely in their eyes as he opened up with a little truth about himself.
"Right now, I am banged-up," he admitted, "so I would love to have an extra three days to get my body ready."
But the fact of the matter is, he doesn't have that time. Neither do any of the rest of the bruised Bengals who are now two days away from their Thursday night showdown at Miami. Just two days ago, they were in the middle of yet another physical contest that resulted in four players being escorted out with injuries; two of which appear to be serious enough that those players will miss this next game.
For everyone else, that just means "it comes down to you have to do your job," Gilberry added. "As far as a hurt factor going into a short week, it doesn't matter. That's what we do, we love playing football."
Gilberry was limited in what he could do with respect to his job Monday afternoon. He didn't fully participate in the walkthrough as he gets over a groin injury. Similarly, five others were completely held out of the practice with their own injuries, including linebacker Rey Maualuga and defensive back Taylor Mays. Maualuga suffered a concussion and knee injury that ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported would keep him out three to four weeks. Mays was listed as out on Monday's injury report with a right shoulder injury he picked up just before halftime Sunday.
With these injuries now a part of the Bengals' identity this short week whether they want them or not, the questions bear asking again: the NFL really wants to add regular-season games? The league actually wants more Thursday games?
We pick up those questions in the first link of this Tuesday, Oct. 29 edition of the Morning Stripes:
The Cincinnati Enquirer's Paul Dehner Jr. was the one of the reporters talking to Gilberry on Monday when he opened up with his feelings about Thursday night football games. He understood why they were played, and as a true fan of the game, he had no objections to them. But as one of the players who puts his body on the line during weeks a Thursday game comes after a Sunday game, he has to pause. So did others who Dehner talked to about this piece and a similar blog that more pointedly asked the question about the potential need for eliminating Thursday night games, or at least tweaking schedules in a way in which players get a little extra rest before them.
The two position groups that may be going through perhaps the worst round of short-week abuse are the Bengals' offensive and defensive line. More than any other position groups, players on those units are banging bodies with their opponents each game, pushing and shoving or ripping around them on every play. In recent weeks, the physical nature of the Bengals' offensive line, specifically, has been a source of pride for the overall team. The group has blocked just well enough in a still-developing rushing game, and it has kept quarterback Andy Dalton mostly off the ground. Writes Fox Sports Ohio's Kevin Goheen, Cincinnati's offensive line has been a key player in this four-game winning streak.
Moving up to New York briefly, our colleagues at ESPNNewYork.com have this story on Jets coach Rex Ryan and his desire to immediately purge Sunday's horrid showing against the Bengals from his memory. Normally on Mondays teams evaluate film from their win or loss the day before. Ryan didn't have his team do that. He effectively wanted his players rid of the defeat and turn their attention instead to this weekend's game against the New Orleans Saints. There are a few great Rex quotes in that one.
Lastly, we turn to Bengals.com, where Geoff Hobson has a look at a few of the Bengals' veterans and their hope to rip off another successful second-half run. They were great during last season's final eight regular-season games. They hope to be even better this year.