Bengals Say Raiders Have Their Standouts

Oakland languished last season while finishing with a 3-13 record. That was last year, said the Bengals, who realize that they are in for a game on Sunday against a Raiders team with new coaches, new players, including rookie receiver Amari Cooper, and a new lease on life.

The Bengals are aware of Raiders rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper and second-year defensive end Khalil Mack ahead of Sunday's season-opening road game at Oakland.

“The last two first (draft) picks were very impressive, I’ll tell you that," Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said. "And they stand out on tape. That’s all I can say. They’re impressive.”

Cooper, the 2014 Fred Biletnikoff Award winner out of Alabama, was the fourth overall pick of the 2015 draft as the unanimous top receiver available.

He's expected to step in immediately as the Raiders' new No. 1 receiver, opposite veteran Michael Crabtree, and catch plenty of passes from quarterback Derek Carr.

“They’re a good, young team. They’ve got a fine young quarterback in Carr. They’ve got more explosiveness with their top draft choice, the wideout, Cooper," Lewis said. "And they’re strong up front. Defensively, they’ve got an impact player in Mack. We’ve got our work cut out for us, so let’s get out there and see what we can do.”

Mack, out of Buffalo, is the left defensive end. He was the fifth pick of the 2014 draft.

"You see that kind of explosive ability from Mack," Lewis said. "Explosiveness, and the ability to affect the run and the pass.”

When the coach was asked if some of his players have talked about having something to prove, after last year's playoff debacle in Indianapolis, Lewis said there is something to be said about being energized and starting fresh at 0-0 with renewed hunger.

“Our guys are aware of that. You don’t get anything for things you’ve done in the past," said Lewis. "You have to go out each and every week. It’s an important kickoff, one on the road. Again, we have to do what it takes to go out there and win on the road.”

Lewis doesn't like to talk about injuries, so he was mum when asked about injured defensive end Michael Johnson. The once and future Bengal missed most of training camp after returning to Cincinnati as an offseason free-agent acquisition following a injury-marred one-year stay with Tampa Bay.

When asked if it looked promising for Johnson this week, Lewis said with a laugh, "We'll see."

When pressed on the injury front, Lewis didn't budge.

Someone was wondering if Lewis had to be pleased with a 3-1 preseason that did not injury-riddle the team to the extent that aches and pains have ravaged other teams.

Faced with that, Lewis said, “Well, the best thing is not ever having to talk about it. ‘We’ll see’ covers it all.”

The Raiders finished the preseason 1-3.

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