Thursday Reads: Hope on Pope


CB Geoffrey Pope is confident in his ability to hold up against his old team if, as seems likely, he starts in place of Johnathan Joseph Sunday.

"“I feel real comfortable against those guys. Nothing against them, but I went up against those guys every day,” Pope said. “They have one of the best groups of receivers in the league one through six … they can all make plays.”Pope says he’s not only ready for his regular-season debut because he has worked against seasoned high-voltage performers in Plaxico Burress in practice and Amani Toomer in practice, but he also went one-on-one against savvy Cowboy Terry Glenn in the playoffs.“He’s a bigger, physical guy,” said Pope of Burress and says that corners make the mistake thinking he can’t run. “When he gets going he runs as fast as any guy in this league. The thing you have to do is disrupt him on the line, then you do a lot better playing with him down the field because Eli (Manning) is going to throw it to him regardless.“I’m familiar with Eli where he’s going to go as far as coverages and what he sees and where he’s going to go.”As for Toomer, Pope shook his head and smiled: “He knows all the tricks. … Guys like Plaxico and Toomer would take me off to the side and help me on things.”"

Every little bit helps when you are 0-2 and reeling and facing the defending Super Bowl champs on the road, I suppose. But unless Pope can catch some TDs from Carson Palmer as well, he isn’t on the side of the ball that needs help the most.

In addition to Joseph, Ben Utecht, John Thornton, Indiana Jones and Reggie Kelly all did not practice Wednesday. Chinedum Ndukwe was limited, while fellow safety Dexter Jackson has already been ruled out again.

The good news on the injury front is the absence of some names that were regulars the first couple of weeks, including Pat Sims, Antwan Odom, Frostee Rucker and Andre Caldwell.

With both Ocho Cinco and Ocho Quatro failing to make much noise so far this year, calls are growing for the Bengals to run out second-round pick Jerome Simpson. The Chickster notes that Simpson and Pittsburgh WR Limas Sweed are the only two second-round WRs who have yet to catch a pass in the NFL. However, Palmer claims that Simpson just isn’t ready.