The Bengals knew it would be a good idea to have joint practices with the Giants, because of New York's coaching staff.
When coach Marvin Lewis talked this week about the benefits of being on the same practice fields with the four-time Super Bowl champions, he spoke about head coach Tom Coughlin's style, and the team's defensive coordinator.
“He prides them on being low on penalties, low in error. They’ve been a good run football team, a good play-action football team, which is great for our defense," Lewis said of Coughlin. "Defensively, they’re making the transition with Steve Spagnuolo, and back to some things that they had success with before. I’m sure whatever else Steve brings in from his time in Baltimore, those are all good things."
The Bengals had the chance to see another NFL team up close, other than themselves, breaking up the early routines of camp and energizing practices. Lewis said the benefits are potentially more far-reaching than that.
"To me, it’s exciting because we had our quarterback (Andy Dalton) a few years ago get to watch how Matt Ryan did things (in a previous joint practice with the Falcons)," Lewis said. "The same thing now, he gets a chance with Eli (Manning). Those guys have some years on Andy, so he has a chance to take away some good thoughts from them.”
Lewis said it's coincidental that most of this summer's preseason practice matchups are AFC against NFC.
“I think it’s coincidental by schedule. You would probably not want to work against a team you’re going to be in rotation with more often," the coach said. "The relationship with the coaches is important, as well.”
Lewis said it will be a judgement call regarding how long he keeps his starters on the field Friday. Asked if he will give starters reps "by feel" the coach said, "Yes."
He wasn't as sure about the playing status of middle linebacker Rey Maualuga, who made his training camp debut this week after failing his physical. When asked if he would hold out Maualuga, Lewis said, "We’ll see.”
Though he didn't want to talk about injuries, the coach's sense of humor was intact when he was queried about how much fun he had this week. When asked, rhetorically, where else can you see Odell Beckham and Eli Manning for free, Lewis said, “Other than Giants camps?" And then he laughed.