Morning Stripes: Bengals still need options

November, 27, 2013
11/27/13
8:00
AM ET
Good Wednesday morning, folks. I know many of you will be taking off and hitting the road later in the day, but hopefully you'll spend all your non-driving time with yours truly and the rest of the NFL Nation team.

We'll have a number of items on here later in the day as the Cincinnati Bengals go through their second-to-last open practice of the week. This also will be the first day the Bengals will provide an injury report ahead of Sunday's game at San Diego. For now, that injury report looks to be a fairly clean one. Only guard Kevin Zeitler's status is concerning after he missed Monday's walkthrough while still recovering from a foot injury suffered two games ago. Last week, coach Marvin Lewis was optimistic he'd have everyone on his 53-man roster back to full go before this weekend's game.

After Wednesday's practice, the Bengals will have a modified workout Thursday behind closed doors. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, the session is closed to media. On Friday, they'll work out in the morning before loading buses for Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and flying off to the West Coast.

It's a busy week for the Bengals. It's one they are hoping will be a turning point of sorts by the end of the season. As they come off their bye, the Bengals are looking to kick off a string of five straight victories to close out the season and bolster their status among the higher AFC playoff seeds. In order to do that, they have to get better production offensively. Better offensive production will come when the Bengals get back to using their many playmaking options. At least, that's what they believe.

As we get into this travel Wednesday edition of the Morning Stripes, we take a look at some of the options the Bengals still will need down the stretch:
  • Hopefully you caught our read Tuesday afternoon on Bengals receiver Marvin Jones and his desire to be more productive across the final five weeks. It's a thought others on the team's offense share, particularly others who occupy the receivers' meeting room. In addition to getting A.J. Green back on track after his two-catch, 7-yard showing against Joe Haden and the Cleveland Browns two weeks ago, the Bengals are looking to get Jones and Mohamed Sanu back involved, as well. Sanu finally caught his first touchdown pass of the season in the Browns game, but Jones hasn't been quite as dominant since his eight-catch, four-touchdown performance against the Jets a month ago. As Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson notes, though, those options not named Green may be needed now more than ever for Cincinnati's struggling offense.
  • After a week of evaluating themselves, the Bengals got evaluated Tuesday by the Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy. In the bye-week edition of his weekly report card, the tough-grading Reedy offered his take on a few of Cincinnati's key position groups. Hard to disagree with many of the grades; particularly those dealing with the offense. If the Bengals are going to go on this run they have designs on embarking upon, they'll certainly need that offense to step up.
  • On Friday, the Bengals are holding an "Orange and Black Friday" sale on tickets to their final two home games, per this report from Southwest Ohio FOX-affiliate WXIX. For just that one day, all service fees will be waived on tickets purchased for the Dec. 22 game against the Minnesota Vikings and the Dec. 29 contest against the Baltimore Ravens. That's enough to save buyers up to 15 percent off regular ticket costs.
  • The Bengals got into the Thanksgiving spirit earlier this week when a camera crew from the Enquirer caught up with several players in the locker room and asked them about their ideal dinners. Check out the link for the responses.

Coley Harvey

ESPN Cincinnati Bengals reporter

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