The Bengals have increased security for their game against the Colts today, the first game at Paul Brown Stadium since a fan ran onto the field and took the ball out of Brett Favre's hand.
"We're going to have a lot more security," stadium managing director Eric Brown said. "It's going to be as heavy as it is anywhere in the NFL. It will definitely be noticeable, let's put it that way."
A fan from Cincinnati ran onto the field in the closing seconds of a 21-14 victory over Green Bay on Oct. 30; officials were forced to whistle the play dead after Favre had taken the snap. The man snatched the ball from Favre's hand and ran to the other end of the field, where he was tackled by security guards and arrested.
Gregory Gall, 31, was charged with resisting arrest, trespassing and disorderly conduct while intoxicated. Security tapes showed that he jumped over a wall and landed on a cart on the sideline, then went onto the field.
The Bengals will keep carts away from the stands as part of their tightened security. Brown declined to say how many more security guards will be on the field.
The Colts are the only unbeaten team left in the league, and the game was moved from 1 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. EST for television. Bengals linebacker Brian Simmons hopes the crowd behaves.
"Hopefully they don't get too crazy," Simmons said. "They've got a little extra time on their hands to get prepared for the game."
Making The Switch
If anybody in the NFL understands the challenge faced by Jacksonville receiver Matt Jones, it's Tennessee receiver Drew Bennett. Like Jones, he was a quarterback in college -- at UCLA; Jones was a starter at Arkansas. Bennett started making the switch to receiver while still in school.
Jones is 6-foot-6; Bennett is 6-5. Jones was the Jaguars' first-round draft pick, while Bennett worked his way onto the roster as an undrafted free agent. Jones has 24 catches for 285 yards with seven games left, compared to Bennett's rookie totals of 24 catches for 329 yards.
Bennett said Jones impressed him most with his speed.
"His legs are probably still adjusting to the amount of running that he's doing, and receiving is so much the little details and intricacies -- coming off the line of scrimmage and getting open against bump coverage, things like that," Bennett said.
Bennett expects Jones to be even better next season.
"He'll go back and look at the film this year. He'll work on his feet. He'll work on getting off bumps and kind of know where he needs to be at the start of the season better than he did this year," Bennett said.
A True Pro
Bob Sheppard, the public address announcer at New York Giants home games since 1956, made it known this week he will step down from that job after this season although he will continue to do the Yankees, for whom he has worked 55 years.
Sheppard, believed to be in his 90s, is the last of a breed in an era when many of his colleagues were little more than cheerleaders.
His call, in deep and dulcet tones, simply described the play: "Carry by Barber. Tackle by Trotter. Second down and 5."
No cheerleading. Nothing louder for a Giants touchdown. Nothing dreary for a score by the opposition. Just straight and the way it happened.
A lot of players recognize the unique nature of the calls.
For example, at the end of the hour of Giants player interviews on the field at Tampa Stadium on the Tuesday before the 1991 Super Bowl, ESPN's Chris Berman took the microphone and announced, imitating Sheppard: "The Giants will now leave the field."
"Wow," one player exclaimed. "They brought that guy down here with us! That's great."
Points in the first quarter have been as elusive as wins this season for the Houston Texans.
Through nine games the team has scored only seven points in the first quarter. Those came against the Cleveland Browns in Houston's only win.
As the Texans try to improve their 1-8 record against Kansas City tonight, a key has to be changing that scoring statistic.
Quarterback David Carr said he talks with the offense about the importance of starting fast, but he doesn't specifically talk about scoring in the first quarter.
"But maybe we should," he said. "Maybe that's the thing we need to talk about, because obviously it helped out last time."
He said he can't explain the inability to score early, but knows it will be a boost if the Texans can turn it around.
"It's tough to point to just one thing," Carr said. "But we have to start faster and help our defense out, because you put those guys in some situations that we don't need to put them in."
The first quarter isn't the only place where Houston has struggled to score -- it has managed only 13.8 points a game -- but it's by far the worst.
Kansas City rarely lets its opponents score in the first period, allowing 27 first-quarter points this season, 17 in one game. The Chiefs shut out six teams in the first quarter.
"You'd always like to go out and be able to get a lead and play for the lead. We haven't been able to do that," Houston Coach Dom Capers said.