Bengals coach Marvin Lewis likes to say that he sees better than he hears.
He saw his Bengals get ripped to shreds, 25-11, Monday night at Tampa Bay. He also saw plenty of film of the debacle. There turned out to be few silver linings during just a pitiful preseason game two performance during which the Bengals played down to their competition -- the lowly Bucs.
“I will tell you that after watching the videotape of the game Monday night, I was no more pleased than I was after the game," Lewis said. "I was disappointed in No. 1, our energy, our execution. Those things were disappointing overall, particularly for the first units.
"I think as things went on, we did better things. But when you go out there on an NFL field, you’ve got be ready to go right away. You’ve got to put your football out there and make plays when opportunity arises, in all three phases of the game. As we went on and other guys got in the game, I thought guys did good things. There were some guys who rose up and were competitive and showed well. That you’re happy with. We’ve got another opportunity here in a few days, so that will be good.”
The Bengals have a short week. They play preseason game three Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at home against the Chicago Bears. Week three is commonly known as the dress rehearsal for the regular-season opener. Andy Dalton, of course, will get the start at quarterback. His clear backup, A.J. McCarron, will play a lot, now that Josh Johnnon has been waived.
McCarron represented one of the few Bengals positives Monday night. Lewis said that the game wasn’t too big for the first-year player drafted in 2014.
"He had some bad field position starts and was able to keep going, come back and do it, play, make some positive plays. Hopefully he learns," the coach said. "We had an instance last week in practice mirrored in the game. If you get out of the pocket, move on to the next down. Don’t try to do too much and get trapped, and then you lose all chances to do everything.
"Those are the things he’s going to have to learn as he goes. The guys here run faster even then they did in the SEC. As a quarterback, when you get out of the pocket, you have to protect the football and get ready to get down.”
Lewis said Johnson was released for his benefit.
“It was a decision made literally to help Josh as much as anything," said the coach. "We didn’t get enough snaps to get him in the game last week. My plan was, he was likely not going to play this week. It gives him an opportunity to catch on with another team.
"In practice we wanted to put our focus on AJ. So it’s difficult to have a guy who busted his tail here like Josh has done, yet not getting an opportunity. That’s hard. That’s the kind of thing we have tried to do with all the guys. If you are not going to get the opportunity, we are going to give you an opportunity to possibly get a spot somewhere else.”