Ryan Fitzpatrick will start for the fifth consecutive game and the sixth time overall in Sunday's 1 p.m. game. The Bengals are coming off their first win of the season, a 21-19 triumph against Jacksonville that broke the team's eight-game losing streak to start the season. It was Fitzpatrick's first win in eight career starts, including three starts he had with St. Louis as a rookie in 2005.
""You take it on a week-to-week basis, but until someone tells me different, that's how it's going to go in my mind," Fitzpatrick told reporters on Monday when asked if he considers himself the starter for the rest of the season.
Palmer suffered an elbow injury in the Week 3 overtime loss at the New York Giants and has not played since the Week 5 loss at Dallas. Palmer has had constant inflammation in his right elbow, a condition that has been reported to be caused by "frayed" ligaments in the elbow, although both Palmer and head coach Marvin Lewis have denied such reports.
Lewis confirmed Monday afternoon that Fitzpatrick would start against the Eagles and that Palmer would continue his treatment sessions, which include him not throwing any passes during practice. Lewis told reporters that surgery is not expected to be necessary for Palmer and that the quarterback still holds out hope that he will be able to play again at some point this season.
Fitzpatrick has completed 62 percent of his passes (103 of 166) for 789 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions. His 4.75 yards-per-attempt average is last among the 35 quarterbacks in the NFL who qualify for the league rankings and his 66.6 passer rating is 33rd among those 35. Fitzpatrick has turned the ball over 10 times total, with four lost fumbles to go along with his six interceptions.
His play has just been one symptom of what has been an anemic performance from the Cincinnati offense. The Bengals rank last in the NFL in total offense, including a rushing attack that averages just 86.4 yards per game. The Bengals have allowed 30 sacks this season after giving up just 17 all of last season. Their longest play from scrimmage all season has been a 36-yard pass from Palmer to running back DeDe Dorsey on the final play of the first half against Tennessee in Week 2. It is the only offensive play they have this season that has gained 30 or more yards.
The Bengals have a turnover margin of minus-7 this season, a dramatic turnaround from their first five seasons under Lewis when they were among the NFL's best teams in that category with a plus-42 margin.
WHITWORTH TO APPEAL FINE – Left guard Andrew Whitworth said Monday that he would appeal his $10,000 fine from the NFL for his involvement in a fight with Jacksonville defensive tackle John Henderson. Henderson ripped off Whitworth's helmet during a play late in the third quarter of the Bengals' victory and then attacked him from behind, including poking Whitworth in the eyes.
Both players were ejected from the game. The league fined both players the same amount for their actions, with Henderson incurring an additional fine of $5,000 for drawing a penalty of illegal hands to the face.
The league confirmed in an e-mail on Monday that nine others from both the Bengals and Jaguars would receive fines for their part in the fracas. Those fines would range from $2,500-$5,000.
ROSTER MOVE – The team made a couple of roster moves on Monday, re-instating linebacker Darryl Blackstock to the 53-man roster and releasing cornerback Geoffrey Pope.
Blackstock, who has played mainly on special teams, served a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's banned substance policy. He claimed that the substance was in an over-the-counter nutritional supplement he had been using.