Saturday, October 8, 2011


With his hearty laugh and engaging smile, Bobbie Williams looked like a man ready to make up for lost time on Wednesday.

The veteran right guard missed the first four games after violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances, which ended up being an over-the-counter diuretic.

Williams, though, said there was one person to blame for the situation - himself. The positive test came before the lockout, but Williams did not know his appeal was denied until after the final preseason game.

"We're responsible for what goes in our body. The whole thing could have easily been avoided," Williams said. "You live and you learn and it cost me four games with my teammates. The good thing about it is I was given this opportunity to come back and make good."

He was also determined not to let it wreck his season.

Working out for the past four weeks with Clif Marshall at Ignition, Williams went through three-hour conditioning sessions five days a week. Williams is down to 329 pounds, the lightest he has been since entering the league in 2000 with Philadelphia.

Williams also followed a new nutrition plan that also helped him lose weight.

"The first thing I said when this happened was I was going to turn this from a negative into a positive and I have," Williams said.

Working out with Marshall and the crew at Ignition had an added advantage because Marshall had worked with the Bengals training staff as an assistant and considers strength and conditioning coach Chip Morton a mentor. He also worked with many of the current players, including Williams, during the lockout.

Said Williams: "It was a huge advantage because he had the contact I didn't have with Chip and coach (Marvin) Lewis getting feedback on what to ... address."

Marshall said that the first couple of weeks of the program with Williams focused on conditioning, but the last two weeks were more football specific drills, like sled work. Former Colts linebacker Tyjuan Hagler and former Bengals linebacker Rashad Jeanty also trained with Williams and helped out on pass protection sets.

"The biggest thing was reviving his mental and spiritual health, especially after the way the suspension happened. What I respect is that he used this as motivation," Marshall said.

With his reinstatement, Williams is on a one-week roster exemption. If he is to play on Sunday at Jacksonville, the Bengals will have to release a player later this week. Lewis said they would evaluate how Williams does in practice this week before making a decision.

Before the suspension, the Bengals were having success running it to the right side during the preseason with Williams and tackle Andre Smith.

During the first quarter of the regular season, the running plays were more to the left as they led the league in number of running plays behind left tackle with 33. Of the 105 running plays, only six have been up the middle, a league low.

Cedric Benson is tied for second in the league in carries and has two 100-yard games, but there has been a twinge of disappointment from him this week over the direction of the running game since the opener at Cleveland.

Said Benson on Wednesday: "It's kind of tough for any player who takes pride in what he does. Communication is always important, but at times we sometimes struggle with communicating. That being said, you never know what is around the corner."

While the opener against the Browns was in the ground-and-pound style that some expected (33 runs, 31 passes), the last three games have had more passes than runs.

A big part of that, though, has been an inability to convert on third down, and trailing most of the time.

But as left tackle Andrew Whitworth noted, there are going to be opportunities for everyone.

"Some games we may need to throw it more and some games we're going to need to pound it," he said.

Many are hoping that the second half against Buffalo, where the Bengals rallied from 14 points down for a 23-20 victory, is more of a template for future games.

In that half, they scored on four of five drives but were equally adept at both running and passing.

On the ground, they ran it 16 times and averaged 6.9 yards per carry.

Even though offensive coordinator Jay Gruden understands Benson's concerns, he also realizes that there is a tough balancing act.

Said Gruden of Benson: "When Bernard Scott comes in for him he feels like we don't love him anymore. When we pass a couple times on first down and we have to punt he gets a little upset. Most great competitors are like that.

"He just has to channel his emotions and understand we're all trying to do the best and win the game. Whether he gets the ball 10 or 50 times, I don't care as long as he wins the game."

Fullback Chris Pressley is also one who thinks that more consistency with the running game is ahead.

"We haven't put a full game together. It just comes with working together and playing as a team," he said.

Article Written By: Joe Reedy /

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