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Wake-up call: Benson vents frustration

Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:

While waiting on a ruling for his appeal of a three-game suspension, running back Cedric Benson has chosen to vent his frustration regarding the Bengals offense.

Benson is apparently bothered by the times Cincinnati rotates backup Bernard Scott into games and throws on first downs.

“Often times you want to express how you feel about something but sometimes people don’t want to receive it the right way or how they receive it could be confusing or cause some conflict," Benson told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "There’s guys who make those calls who put us in a position to win.”

As Joe Reedy of the Enquirer pointed out, Benson questioned the direction of the offense last season after three games. It's taken him four games to do the same with first-year Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.

“When Bernard Scott comes in for him, he feels like we don’t love him anymore," Gruden said. "When we pass a couple times on first down and we have to punt, he gets a little upset. Most great competitors are like that. He just has to channel his emotions and understand we’re all trying to do the best and win the game whether he gets the ball 10 or 50 times I don’t care as long as he wins the game.”

Hensley's slant: Benson might want to ask counsel if he can strike those comments he just made about the offense from the record. He has no grounds to complain because he is tied for the second-most carries in the league with 77, which is just four shy of the league leader Adrian Peterson. Plus, Benson's own off-the-field decisions might do more damage to the team if it results in a multiple-game suspension. The Bengals would only be making a smart move by getting Scott more involved in case he has to fill in for Benson.

  • BROWNS: Peyton Hillis' agent, Kennard McGuire, told The Associated Press that he advised Hillis not to play with strep throat because it could have jeopardized his career if he played at less than 100 percent. This follows a report that players in the locker room wondered if Hillis didn't play to protest the lack of a new contact. And this follows speculation that the Browns limited Hillis' touches last Sunday to punish him for not playing over the contract issue. Hensley's slant: Ok, "Sick-gate" has officially gotten out of control. The best move Hillis could make at this point is to shut down negotiations until after the season because the contract issue has obviously become a distraction for the team. The Browns are off to a great start by their standards, and they need to find a way to move past this drama.

  • RAVENS: Nose tackle Terrence Cody, a first-year starter, was praised by coach John Harbaugh for his part on the NFL's third-ranked run defense. "He dominates in there quite a bit," Harbaugh said, via the team's website. Hensley's slant: Kelly who? It was apparent last season that long-time nose tackle Kelly Gregg wasn't the same force inside. It was a necessary move to promote Cody, a second-round pick from a year ago. But Cody's impact has been surprising. After reporting out of shape as a rookie, Cody showed his commitment by dropping weight this year and continued his hard work onto the field. He's been one of the most improved players on the team.

  • STEELERS: Isaac Redman said he is ready for an increased workload Sunday after Rashard Mendenhall and Mewelde Moore both missed Wednesday's practice with injuries. “If they can’t go, I will probably be out there first, second and third down," Redman told the team's website. "It will be a lot to take on, but I welcome it.” Hensley's slant: Those who've been clamoring for Redman to unset Mendenhall might get their wish Sunday. But the trouble isn't Mendenhall, who is the most talented back on the Steelers roster. If the offensive line can't open holes, it won't matter if the Steelers are handing the ball off to Redman or Jerome Bettis. Well, wait a second, maybe Bettis could be the one to crash through this line.