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I'd be worried about the Jaguars interior even if Braham was starting and was completely healthy. They have the best DT tandem in the league and a speedy and agile MLB in Mike Peterson. With that being said, I'm not anymore worried with Ghiaciuc in there. My biggest concern with Ghiaciuc was if he could make the calls at the line this year, but the Houston game proved that the o-line can pick up the slack and be just fine doing that, so I'm not concerned about that aspect. The only thing I am worried about now is Ghiaciuc ability to drive block. I think he will fair fine in pass protection, but we get into a lot of 3rd and shorts and if he can't drive Henderson or Stroud off of the ball some, then we won't convert hardly any third downs against them. By the way, for those having trouble spelling his name, all you have to do is break it in half and remember it. Ghia Ciuc. That makes it much easier.

I'm happy that those penalties finally hurt us. I think Lewis will get it worked out now and we won't see as many against the Jags. Obviously everyone is worried about this game, but I have confidense in this team and Marvin has got the team to look great on the two primetime games he has had. Carson got his first win on a Sunday night game against the Dolphins last year and we were underdogs against Denver on Monday night last year, but we came in and destroyed them.

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By the way, for those having trouble spelling his name, all you have to do is break it in half and remember it. Ghia Ciuc. That makes it much easier.

Since they'll be activating Ghiaciuc I believe it's time to give him the orange crunkish tag of....G-Check.

As for how he'll do if Braham doesn't play, I agree he probably won't face a tougher test than the Jags interior duo. That said, I'm glad they'll be moving Steinbach back to LG because the butter on our bread is still the running play they simply call Power.

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I have to think there won't be as much of a concern with having the rook start this Sunday as some might think. This guy was drafted thinking he may be starting at some point in the season anyway. This is not something that was out of the rhelm of possiblity. He is a big guy, who's VERY athletic, and moves well. Look him up on Bengals.com. I'm not as concerned with him as I am with NOT having Madieu...


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I am concerned about Guaiac......... One thing we need to consider is that half of our division opponents use a nose tackle (usually larger than a 4-3 defensive tackle).............these guys are harder to move out and you need more bulk, less speed than if you have no one over your head where a quicker guy like Guaiac might be better........ obviously, he was not beating out Moore for the #2 spot.... I think he will be better with time and I hope the guy from LSU gets healed up and we will have some real depth......

Also, Kooistra seemed for comfortable at Tackle than at guard.............

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I am concerned about Guaiac......... One thing we need to consider is that half of our division opponents use a nose tackle (usually larger than a 4-3 defensive tackle).............these guys are harder to move out and you need more bulk, less speed than if you have no one over your head where a quicker guy like Guaiac might be better........ obviously, he was not beating out Moore for the #2 spot.... I think he will be better with time and I hope the guy from LSU gets healed up and we will have some real depth......

Also, Kooistra seemed for comfortable at Tackle than at guard.............

Check your facts. It's not that Moore beat out Check for the backup role, it's versatility that got him the start and Check inactive. Moore started because he is a Guard/Center and not just a center. Check is the better center, hell, Steinbach was a better center, but Moore can back up two positions, thus giving more options if indeed there was an injury at either position. If you look at the depth chart, you will see that Ghiaciuc is the #2 center, not Moore. Moore is the #2 left guard. But you can't activate everyone, so Moore got the activation because of versatility.

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From Hobson's missive of the day on Bengals.com

Not so fast on rookie Eric Ghiaciuc making his NFL debut Sunday night under the heated microscope of prime-time football against the Jaguars’ Pro Bowl-caliber defensive tackles John Henderson and Marcus Stroud and highly regarded middle linebacker Mike Peterson in a hostile road game.

Rich Braham may have a sprained knee (which is probably a sprained medial collateral ligament), but he was seen walking fairly normally around the facility Monday after offering his services Sunday in case of an emergency following his own injury.

So the Bengals have to figure he’s going to be able to at least start. After all, we’re talking about a guy who passed up surgery and didn’t miss a game despite being diagnosed with a herniated neck disk three weeks into the 2001 season.

Still, he’s listed as questionable and Lewis has indicated Ghiaciuc, the fourth-rounder from Central Michigan, would go in his place.

“I feel like I can do it. I’m ready,” said Ghiaciuc, who gives off the cool appearance of a guy getting ready for Bowling Green instead of two Pro Bowlers.

Ghiaciuc, an avid fisherman who can often be found on his native Lake Huron, isn’t as relaxed as if this is an angler’s weekend out. But he isn’t as hyped up as he used to be as a young college player, either, because he found it took away from his game.

If there are two guys who also think he’s ready it’s offensive line coach Paul Alexander and assistant Bob Surace who went into the draft making no bones that they were looking for a long-term replacement for the 34-year-old Braham.

They were high on Ghiaciuc all during the scouting process, in large part because of his solid academic record and the fact that center was his natural position. One of the reasons the Bengals drafted him was because they thought those two traits would translate into him playing rather quickly here. Then, once they started working with him when he arrived, they thought he could be ready faster than they originally thought.

“He played well in the preseason and he got a lot of reps in the camps,” Surace said. “Obviously, what you wouldn’t have is all that experience that Richie gives you, and Richie has all those years of knowing the angles. That’s too valuable to even calculate.”

Alexander has always said the two biggest things the 6-4, 300-pound Ghiaciuc has to do is get brainwashed in the Bengals system and then simply get the experience of playing large NFL men like the 6-6, 315-pound Stroud and the 6-7, 330-pound Henderson. Not exactly the Mid American Conference.

“Oh yeah,” Ghiaciuc said. “They’re big guys.”

But the Bengals think Ghiaciuc can make a quick transition into this league because he’s a good athlete, too, and that will hold him in good stead against the big guys. He’s a former state heavyweight wrestling champion out of Oxford High School in Michigan.

“He’s got the two things you want to see and that’s the quickness, along with the ability to use his hands," Surace said. “I think some of that comes from his wrestling background.”

Plus, the Bengals look at a couple of rookie centers around the NFL that played right away for high-functioning teams. When he was a fifth-rounder out of Boston College in 2003, Dan Koppen ended up starting late in the year for the Patriots team that beat the Panthers in the Super Bowl. Last year, Nick Hardwick, a third-rounder out of Purdue, made 14 starts for the 12-4 Chargers.

Of course, the other players around them were experienced and stepped up their games, but isn’t that what the Bengals did on Sunday when left guard Eric Steinbach made the switch and played center for the first time in his life?

(By the way, count Ghiaciuc as one of the guys chuckling when he saw Steinbach snapping left-handed.)

“The thing about (Steinbach) is that he’s such a good athlete and he’s already got a lot of experience playing in the league,” Ghiaciuc said.

But the Bengals also feel Ghiaciuc is athletic enough to be the center of the future. The only question is if the future is Sunday night in Jacksonville.

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More from Hobson on this issue in his 'mailbag' area

October 4, 2005 10:45 a.m.


With Larry Moore out for the season and Rich Braham banged up, what will be the Bengals plan at Center. Is Eric Ghiaciuc ready to step in and play meaningful minutes? Is Ben Wilkerson progressing to the point that he will be activated after Week 6 or is he most likely heading to IR also? What about Jerry Fontenot? Is he ready willing and able to take Moore's spot on the active roster?

Mike, Galion, Ohio


MIKE: Plan A is getting Braham back for Sunday night. Given his $6 Million Man resiliency (“We can rebuild him”), no one is counting out Braham, especially since he was walking around the day after the game.

Plan B is what The Plan was back in April when they drafted Ghiaciuc in the fourth round. He’s the center of the future and with Moore gone, the future just became whenever they need him. There is angst about in Bengaldom, but while Ghiaciuc doesn’t have Braham’s experience, how does he get it?

Is it an ideal debut Sunday night?

Of course not. On the road against two very good and very huge defensive tackles in Jacksonville’s Marcus Stroud and John Henderson. Plus an excellent middle linebacker in Mike Peterson.

But there is never going to be an ideal time. You can’t hear in Tennessee, a top five defense comes to town in Pittsburgh before Green Bay comes in with a good defensive line, and then a road trip to another top five defense in Baltimore. So that first one is never going to be easy because you can always find something.

But Ghiaciuc has shown signs he won’t blow up this team if they have to go to him earlier than anticipated. The backups scored points while he was in there during the preseason, and he’ll have plenty of help from two experienced guards in Eric Steinbach and Bobbie Williams.

You have to figure if they were able to get a lot of their 371 yards last Sunday with a guy who never played center before (Steinbach) playing next to a guy who never played left guard before in a NFL game (Scott Kooistra), they should be relatively OK with a natural center wo can play in Ghiaciuc. He may not have Steinbach’s NFL experience, but he’s smart and knows the position, and he can be a contributor if needed Sunday night.

Which is why they don’t need 39-year-old Jerry Fontenot. If they do anything, they will probably sign a young center to fill Moore’s roster spot since rookie free agent Ben Wilkerson isn’t eligible to come off the physically unable to perform list (PUP) for two more weeks.

Actually, if they go with Ghiaciuc, they’re in better shape at center than the last time they went into a Sunday night game. You’ll recall that was last year against Miami and Fontenot arrived barely in time to go through the Thursday walk through before playing in a game the Bengals won, 16-13. Next to last Sunday, that may have been the most amazing accomplishment ever by a Bengals offensive line given it got a new center virtually 72 hours before the game, and Ghiaciuc won’t be under nearly the duress that faced Fontenot.

Wilkerson most likely isn’t in their plans this year. He’s missed too much and is going through too much rehab and they still have to see where he is medically with that torn patella tendon in his kneecap. Once the six weeks of PUP is up, the Bengals have three weeks to activate him for practice. Then they have three weeks to evaluate him. Then, after Week 12, they can either put him on the roster, put him on season-ending injured reserve or cut him. He could be looking at IR so they can make sure he’s right, and where do you put him if he has to go on the roster?

But he remains a fine prospect if he can come back from this thing. By the way, he’s coming up on the year anniversary of the injury, which came in LSU’s Oct. 30 game against Vandy.

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From Today's Enquirer

The Center of attention

Injuries to Braham, Moore might cast CMU product into new role

By Mark Curnutte

Enquirer staff writer

At 6-foot-4, 305 pounds, Eric Ghiaciuc looked down at a 6-foot, 180-pound newspaper reporter Monday, recalled his years playing in the Mid-American Conference and said: "I played against a lot of guys your size, no offense, a lot smaller than the guys I'm blocking now. I just have to remember technique and maintain discipline while I block."

Chances are Ghiaciuc didn't block any 180-pound defensive lineman while playing at Central Michigan. But he never played against a pair of tackles as talented as the ones he could face Sunday night at Jacksonville.

Because of starter Rich Braham's iffy status and Larry Moore's season-ending knee injury, rookie Ghiaciuc might make his NFL debut against Marcus Stroud and John Henderson. Stroud, who is 6-6, 312 pounds, is a two-time Pro Bowl player. Henderson, at 6-7, 328, was an AFC all-star performer last year.

The Jaguars are tied for 29th against the run, at 130 yards a game. They were 11th last season. The Jaguars have 10 sacks and are ranked second in pass defense.

Ghiaciuc, the Bengals fourth-round pick, doesn't seem overwhelmed by the possible task. By the way, his last name is pronounced GUY-check.

"You just have to maintain your proper technique," said Ghiaciuc, emerging from anonymity Monday as a potential starter on a 4-0 team.

"You're not going to (push) people everywhere. You're going to block people, but you're not going to kill people. They have a lot of big athletes. It's a matter of using the technique that I know how to use and believing in that."

With Braham in his 12th season, the Bengals drafted Ghiaciuc as the heir apparent. Even if Braham can play, Ghiaciuc probably will be needed to spell him.

"Eric is a brilliant guy, and body-wise he'll be able to match up with the nose tackles," Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander said of Ghiaciuc at the draft in April.

"He's got great balance, and he creates movement on big people with his quickness. How ready is he? More ready than you might think. We wouldn't have drafted him if we didn't think he could play right away."

Bengals coaches think he is ready to handle the intellectual requirements of playing center in the NFL.

Ghiaciuc started his final 35 games at Central Michigan, where he blocked for a 1,000-yard running back in each of the three seasons. He is a former state heavyweight wrestling champion at Oxford (Mich.) High School.

He was active for the opener against the Browns but was inactive for the next three games. Dressed in street clothes and standing on the sideline Sunday, Ghiaciuc watched Braham leave and Moore get carted off. Then he watched left guard Eric Steinbach practice snaps left-handed.

"I chuckled because I haven't seen a left-handed center in a long time," Ghiaciuc said. "He did a good job. Steinbach's a good athlete, a very intelligent football player. I've played center, so I'm confident I can do it, as well."

Ghiaciuc struggled early in training camp with fumbled snaps, especially when working with backup quarterback Jon Kitna. Those mishaps were ironed out, and Ghiaciuc said he, Braham and Moore have shared snaps with starting quarterback Carson Palmer in practice.

There's the same type of calm to Ghiaciuc that Braham and Moore possess.

"In college, I played real hyped up, and it didn't really work for me," Ghiaciuc said. "I calmed down, and I started playing better football.

"I think I'm ready. I've learned a lot since I've played here."

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Marvin seems to infuse his mind on every single player on this team. Ghiaciuc too.

I'm not a trekie (sp) by ANY stretch, but did anyone else read this "infuse his mind" and picture Marvin as one of the Borg ?? Anyway, thought it would be a good opportunity for BlackJesus to have a little fun !!!

Yes, TDB, I agree with you !!!


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