From a Bengals blog over here in Cincy...

Smith gets to face Woodley; Fanene out
Posted by jreedy
November 4th, 2010

In his first two starts at right tackle, Andre Smith has had to go up against Atlanta’s John Abraham and Miami’s Cameron Wake. There’s no letup on Monday night as Smith goes up against Pittsburgh linebacker LaMarr Woodley.

Said Smith on Thursday when asked about facing Woodley and the Steelers defense: “They’re tough and physical. They’re all ball hawks and not scared of contact.”

The 5-2 Steelers come into the game with the league’s fifth-ranked defense and are first against the run, surrendering just 58.9 yards per game. Woodley got two sacks in the first two games but has gotten 1½ over the last five, which came against Cleveland nearly three weeks ago.

Smith gave a sack against Abraham but didn’t allow one against Wake. It wasn’t all smooth sailing last week though. Smith did allow two quarterback hits of Carson Palmer and according to Pro Football Focus, he did allow three pressures. The site, which grades every player, gave Smith a minus 5.8, which was an improvement over the Atlanta game where he was a minus 7.4.

Besides struggling at times in pass protection, Smith has been called for three false start penalties over the last weeks.

“There are some things I wish I could do different but it is a lesson learned and hopefully I won’t do the same things again,” Smith said. “I have to continue to get better throughout the week and execute everything well on Monday.”

Offensive line coach Paul Alexander said Smith’s past couple weeks of practice have been good and that the main thing is improving on his technique.

“The good part is for the past few week this is the first time since he has been here we’ve been able to work on football drills because of his foot and making sure that’s OK,” Alexander said. “This week has been fun that way, working on basic football technical things in pads.”

Smith agreed with that and said that it isn’t the game speed that has proved to be the biggest hurdle, but refining technique.

“All defenders do the same moves but different players set up different moves. I have to use my technique and be disciplined,” Smith said. “Everyone on this level is good. You have to be a good technician and a good player.”

[HIGH-LIGHT]FANENE OUT FOR MONDAY:[/HIGH-LIGHT] Defensive end Jonathan Fanene will miss his second straight game due to a lingering hamstring injury. Fanene suffered the injury in the opener and missed the first four games before returning two weeks ago at Atlanta.

Defensive tackle Tank Johnson (knee) and linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy (ankle) did not practice while linebacker Keith Rivers (foot) and defensive end Frostee Rucker (knee) were limited.

If Johnson can not go, Pat Sims would in all likelihood get the start.

Cornerback Johnathan Joseph (ankle) and safeties Roy Williams (knee) and Chinedum Ndukwe (knee) were listed at full participation, meaning that it is likely all three will face Pittsburgh on Monday. Williams has missed the last three games, Joseph the last two and Ndukwe was out for Miami.

[HIGH-LIGHT]SPECIAL WOES:[/HIGH-LIGHT] Kick coverage has been a big deficiency so far. The Bengals are ranked 30th in the league in that category as opponents have had an average start at the 30 yard line (29.8 to be exact). The league average is the 26.

Over the past two weeks, the Bengals have allowed two kickoffs to reach their territory, including one during the second quarter last week that led to a Dan Carpenter field goal.

One reason for the struggles is that Darrin Simmons’ unit has not had the same lineup each week. And a unit that lost three of its top four tacklers from a year ago due to releases is still trying to mesh.

“Whoever we put out there we expect to make plays. We’re not making enough of them,” Simmons said. “I think the one thing we have to do a better job of is tackling. We’re in the position to make plays. We have to finish them. I’ve been stressing it all week. We have to tackle and get the guy to the ground. It’s frustrating, very frustrating.”