After four straight losses, Bengals Coach Bruce Coslet had seen enough. Now he is switching quarterbacks, dropping Jeff Blake for rookie Akili Smith.

Smith will start Sunday in Cleveland, facing rookie QB Tim Couch of the Browns (0-4) in a meeting of Ohio's two winless NFL teams. The Bengals (0-4) also lost all four preseason games.

Coslet said yesterday he does not blame Blake for all the problems on offense, but he wanted to create a spark.

HURTING: Injuries have cost the Jets several players this season, and now they have lost two more--likely for the season.

LB Chad Cascadden tore ligaments in his right knee in the Jets' 21-13 victory over the Broncos Sunday and will be placed on injured reserve this week. Jets Coach Bill Parcells said Cascadden is done for the year.

Otis Smith, who returned from a broken left collarbone on Sunday after missing two months, suffered the same injury on the first play against the Broncos. Smith played most of the first half; Parcells wasn't sure if Smith could return this season. . . .

QB Steve Young, sidelined by his fourth concussion in three years, underwent a series of tests yesterday and will visit with his neurologist today to try to decide whether he can resume playing for the 49ers this week. He missed last Sunday's game.

BRONCO BEANED: CB Dale Carter was the victim of an unidentified flying metal object last Sunday after the Broncos lost to the Jets to fall to 0-4. Carter had blurred vision yesterday morning, but tests showed the orbital bone beneath his left eye wasn't broken.

"It could have been potentially a catastrophic injury," Broncos trainer Steve Antonopulos said. "Another inch and he could have been blinded."

There was nothing accidental about Carter's injury, as a fan threw an object from about 20 feet above the field as the Broncos made their way toward the locker room. The object found its way through Carter's face mask.

A FINE MESS: Lions Coach Bobby Ross was fined $10,000 by the NFL for criticizing officials after a loss to the Chiefs on Sept. 26.