Updated: 2:30 p.m.
Despite Friday's 33-degree weather, head coach Marvin Lewis had the Bengals practicing on the grass fields next to Paul Brown Stadium in preparation for Sunday's game (8:30 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 5) on the Heinz Field surface in Pittsburgh.
Many of Lewis's Friday workouts are held indoors on the PBS game field's synthetic turf, particularly on cold days. But with the Heinz grass known to be pretty well chewed up at this time of year, Lewis opted for the natural surface. Heinz was fully resodded after Thanksgiving following the high school playoffs and the Steelers have played on it only once since.
The National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio is calling for temperatures around 25 degrees at kickoff and falling to about 20 by the end of the game with winds out of the west and southwest at about five to 10 miles per hour with a low chance of precipitation.
For the second straight day, SAM linebacker
There was little surprise when cornerback
With cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick expected to make his first NFL start in the 30th game since he was the first pick in the Bengals 2012 draft, Lewis is expecting good things.
"Make no mistakes. When we bring in a guy as our first-round pick in the draft, it's the total package. It's their abilities, but yet the confidence in their abilities and the ability to work it," Lewis said after Friday's practice. "He's been waiting for the opportunity to be a full-time starter. He's done everything else, but he's not done this. The thing he's done every time is carve out a niche for himself. He's done well with it. Chances are he gets another opportunity."
Once Newman emerged from the training room in a brace and crutches Sunday after leaving the 42-28 win over the Colts with seven minutes left, it was pretty clear Kirkpatrick was getting the nod.
"I hate the way it happened by Terence going down because we had a great chemistry going on and the role that I was playing," Kirkpatrick said this week of his various stints in sub packages. "But like I said, this is what I do and what I love to do, so I'm going to be ready."
Kirkpatrick, who recorded his first pro pick two weeks ago in a huge sequence in San Diego that help preserve a 17-10 victory, draws one of the hottest receivers in the NFL in the slight but fast Antonio Brown.
"Just staying patient," Kirkpatrick said of his focus.
Lewis said patience is the key to developing players like Kirkpatrick. He wouldn't buy into the generalization that Alabama players have had traditionally slow starts to their NFL careers because they go through such a rigorous program under coach Nick Saban. Kirkpatrick, who played only about 50 snaps as a rookie because of knee issue and other naggers, and Cots running back Trent Richardson have been held up as examples. Lewis pointed to other 'Bama first-rounders like linebacker Dont'a Hightower in New England and defensive end Courtney Upshaw in Baltimore that have come on in their second seasons.
"They’ve played more football than anyone else," Lewis said. "If you look at their season, it's 13, 14 games. It's a long season and they're a physical style football team. And it's competitive. If you don't want your spot, somebody is going to take it. We’ve had to live through that, but once you get them, you're also getting a guy that has that positive because he's used to competing like that."
SLANTS AND SCREENS
» As expected, safety
» Lewis, a member of the competition committee, doesn't see the group passing a resolution to funnel instant replay to a central official in New York instead of going under the hood in each stadium. Lewis says it has the danger of the "Wizard of Oz."
"The guy on the field should be in charge of the game. You want to put somebody else in charge of the game?" Lewis said. "What if we have three at once? What are we going to do? Who makes that decision? You're defeating your purpose. It's like Wizard of Oz. You've got Oz. Some guy behind the curtian."
» Wide receiver,