The Bengals have a mock game today, as they begin to work on more game-like conditions. Game-like proceedings will begin in earnest next week ahead of the joint practices with the New York Giants, whom the Bengals open the preseason schedule against at Paul Brown Stadium.
When coach Marvin Lewis was asked if the timing was good for the Giants to come in and practice with the Bengals, he said, "I think we took some steps forward, and I think you’re right, we’ll have today, tomorrow evening and then Saturday, and then we’ll have some work on Monday and they’ll be here on Tuesday."
Lewis said his main interest was getting to see his first bit of game tape on his players.
"It works well," the coach said. "And the main thing, again, is we’re getting great video tape, we’re getting an opportunity to critique our players and correct them and get them moving forward to be in the right spots when it counts.”
The Giants will invade the downtown practice fields with a roster heavy on receivers and running backs. Fully healthy, quarterback Eli Manning is expecting to have Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle available as targets with Shane Vereen coming out of the backfield and tight end Larry Donnell breaking off the line. Shifty Rashad Jennings and powerful Andre Williams are the primary ball carriers.
The Bengals can counter with a pass rush that they hope is improved with the full return to health of defensive end Geno Atkins, added pressure by defensive end Carlos Dunlap and the eventual return of injured end Michael Johnson. Adam Jones has been leading an active secondary.
Lewis sees some interesting matchups ahead with the Giants.
"That’s part of the element of wanting to work against another group," he said. "Obviously, in Eli Manning, they’ve got one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and a guy that’s very accomplished, and has a great ability to throw the football. So that’s great work for us."
The coach said the Bengals' offense and special teams will have their hands full against the Giants' playmakers.
"With Steve Spagnuolo going over there, we’ll see a good (defensive) scheme, and it will be very solid work for us," said Lewis. "And their special teams are well coached, so I think throughout the two days, it’s really, really good work. We benefit from these opportunities."