Thursday, September 07, 2000


Bankston, Braham ready after missing preseason

By Tom Groeschen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Bengals had several key players nicked up in preseason, but they believe most can play Sunday.

        DT Tom Barndt (chest), S-KR Tremain Mack (ankle), C Rich Braham (knee), RT Willie Anderson (abdomen), DE Michael Bankston (knee), DT Vaughn Booker (knee), SS Cory Hall (ankle) and CB Artrell Hawkins (foot) are expected to play. Braham and Bankston missed the entire preseason.

        “We're getting better,” Coslet said, “but they're all not there yet. Some guys, especially on the defensive side, didn't play a lot, and they'll have to work themselves in.”

        Coslet said the injuries did afford backup players some experience.

        “Especially on the defensive line, where we have to roll six or seven guys in during the game. We feel we're finally able, skillwise, to do that. But in the back of your mind, you're right, they haven't played all that much and we'll have to see.” SETTLE DOWN: Coslet said his main fear is the Bengals will be too energized Sunday. It's is the first official game in Paul Brown Stadium. It's the Browns. And the Bengals are frisky after an opening bye.

        “One of the things I'm worried about is being too high,” Coslet said. “It's a tightrope we'll have to walk all week.”

        BYE BYE: The Bengals have had an extra week to prepare for Cleveland. Last year San Diego opened with a bye and then ripped Cincinnati 34-7. In Cincinnati.

        “Time will tell,” Coslet said of the bye. “Last year we had played a game and San Diego hadn't, and they beat (us).”

        GREEN TEAM: Much has been made of the Bengals having a second-year quarterback quarterback (Akili Smith) and two rookie receivers (Peter Warrick, Ron Dugans) in the starting lineup.

        Coslet was asked Wednesday about the receivers.

        “You want pie in the sky or the truth?” he said, smiling. “I think we'll go through what I went through with Cris Collinsworth, Eddie Brown ... and Rob Moore in New York, who all started as rookies for me. They will have their ups and downs. ... But those guys all went to the Pro Bowl too.”

        Coslet mentioned Dugans and Warrick being from Florida State, a perennial college power.

        “They're from big-time programs,” Coslet said, “but this is the real big time.” OVERSIZED LOAD: Afer practice Wednesday, offensive linemen Willie Anderson (340 pounds), Rod Jones (330) and Jamain Stephens (335) hailed a passing equipment truck. All sought a ride from the practice field back to the Paul Brown Stadium locker room, about a three-minute walk.

        The back wheels of the flatbed sagged noticeably.

        “Hey!” yelled Coslet, an amused bystander. “Those tires are going flat!”

        Stephens bailed, rolled onto the ground, then rose and started walking. The truck continued, with Jones and Anderson still aboard.


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