Bengals coach challenges duo

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Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis publicly challenged quarterback Andy Dalton and middle linebacker Rey Maualuga on Wednesday to become more forceful leaders on their 3-4 team.

The move was out of character for Lewis, who prefers to handle things quietly and internally. It underscored the Bengals’ predicament approaching the season’s midpoint <0x2014> it’s time to start winning or else.

“We’ve wallowed around here in mediocrity,” Lewis said. “Let’s go. That’s the thing we’ve got to do.”

Cincinnati has lost three in a row heading into home games against the Denver Broncos (4-3) and the Super Bowl champion New York Giants (6-2). The Bengals went 9-7 and got a wild card berth last season, when Dalton was a rookie and Maualuga was in his first season at middle linebacker.

Redskins: DeAngelo Hall, who is facing NFL discipline for his incident with an official that led to his ejection Sunday, said Tuesday in a radio interview that the official “was equally at fault.”

The outspoken Washington Redskins cornerback, who was ejected from the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers after taking off his helmet and berating head linesman Dana McKenzie, is scheduled to meet with commissioner Roger Goodell and faces possible suspension.

Goodell said Wednesday that a decision on discipline could be coming soon.

l Receiver Pierre Garcon and safety Brandon Meriweather are unlikely to play again this week, postponing their return until after the bye.

Garcon did not practice Wednesday as the team began workouts ahead of Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers. He has missed five of the last seven games with a torn toe ligament in his right foot.

Bills: As Mario Williams prepares to face his former team Sunday for the first time, the highly paid Buffalo Bills defensive end is maintaining he didn’t want to leave the Houston Texans in the first place.

“I didn’t want to enter free agency in the first place, but it was a one-way door given to me by the GM to leave Houston,” Williams told KRIV-TV in Houston, referring to general manager Rick Smith. “I want the fans there to know entering free agency was not my decision.”

Williams signed a six-year, $100 million contract with the Bills this past summer. He has 3½ sacks but has been bothered by a wrist injury. He had a surgical procedure last week, during Buffalo’s bye, to repair the wrist.

KRIV reported that Smith declined comment.

Rams: Two key players could be back for the St. Louis Rams after their bye week.

Wide receiver Danny Amendola said he’d definitely be in the lineup at San Francisco next week and offensive tackle Rodger Saffold is hopeful of playing.

Both got limited work in a light practice Wednesday and coach Jeff Fisher said they appear to be on track, if there are no setbacks.

Cowboys: Charges alleging domestic violence filed against Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant will not be dismissed according to Dallas County District attorney Craig Watkins.

Watkins’ office confirmed to ESPN Dallas on Wednesday that it has accepted the Class A misdemeanor family violence charges from the DeSoto Police Department and the case is under review.

Earlier Wednesday, Watkins told The Dallas Morning News at a speaking engagement that his office will decide the proper way to move forward with the prosecution of Bryant. The charges stem from a July disturbance in which Bryant was accused of slapping his mother, Angela Bryant, in the face with his cap.

Eagles: Michael Vick will remain the Philadelphia Eagles’ starting quarterback, coach Andy Reid said Wednesday.

Reid didn’t endorse Vick after Sunday’s 30-17 loss to Atlanta, saying he was going to evaluate all of his starters. Vick said after the game he would support whatever decision Reid made.


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