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Palmer feeling better, Bengals' offense still bad

CINCINNATI -- Carson Palmer walked without a limp Wednesday, an indication that his sprained left ankle is doing fine. The quarterback's sense of optimism was intact as well.

Give him one more week.

The Cincinnati Bengals have run out of time to get their offense working. They're 0-2 heading into a game at the Giants on Sunday, one that will provide either a U-turn for their season or a plunge into the abyss.

"It seems like it's the end of the world to a lot of people," Palmer said Wednesday. "This team has a lot of hope left. We have a lot to play for, a lot of pride. The Giants started 0-2 (last season). A lot can be done from 0-2."

So far, the offense has gone nowhere.

An offense that features a Pro Bowl MVP throwing to a pair of Pro Bowl receivers has reached the end zone only once, and that came on a running play. Palmer has the league's lowest passer rating at 37.1 with three interceptions and only 228 yards total. T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson have combined for 11 catches and 129 yards in two games.

They've lost all their games and all their hubris.

"I don't think, really, to tell you the truth, any of us are playing with any confidence right now," Johnson said Wednesday. "I'm not sure why it is that way. We know the kind of swagger that I carry. My confidence is not where it needs to be at all. I'm sort of frustrated with the way things are going the past two games."

Palmer has been at the bull's-eye of it all.

The offensive line's struggles have left him exposed to jarring hits. He broke his nose in the third preseason game when he was hit by two players, and sprained his left ankle in the first half of a 24-10 loss to Tennessee on Sunday when two pass rushers got to him again.

He's had to get rid of the ball quicker than usual, playing right into the defense's strategy.

"Before you name the receivers, before you even name the quarterback, it all starts with that offensive line," Johnson said. "It don't start with us at all. I think it starts with the offensive line. It's going to have a trickle effect. When they're playing well, Carson's going to play well, and it means us on the outside, we're going to play well. Because if it doesn't start with them, the rest of us really don't matter."

The line knows it can't afford to let Palmer get beaten up by one of the NFL's top defenses, which has given up only 20 points in two games and already has seven sacks. It's the Giants' stingiest start to a season since 1952.

"We've got a good game plan in," right guard Bobbie Williams said. "If we go out there and execute it, it can be a huge momentum shift for us, to get us going in the right direction. Last year's Super Bowl champs - it's a great, great challenge and opportunity for the Cincinnati Bengals."'s fantasy blog's fantasy blog is dedicated to one thing: Helping you dominate your fantasy league. Stay updated with all of the latest news and how it will affect your team. **More ...**

An offense known for making big plays has yet to produce one in two games. Of the Bengals' 106 plays this season, only 10 have gone for more than 10 yards. Two of them came at the end of the first half Sunday when the Titans were in a prevent defense.

The Bengals have only one run longer than 10 yards: Chris Perry scored the offense's only touchdown from the 13 on Sunday. The longest play by a receiver was a 24-yard catch by Houshmandzadeh.

Johnson is convinced all the Bengals' offense needs is one big play to change everything.

"At the beginning of every season, I have no confidence until I start rolling," he said. "It doesn't come. I'm telling you how I am, how I work. I have no mojo. T.J. will tell you the same thing: We have no mojo until we get rolling. Until we touch the ball, we're dead."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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