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Notes: Hall questionable; Look for Dre around bye; Gruden vs. Haslett

Posted Sep 21, 2012


Leon Hall

Updated: 4:30 p.m.

For the second straight day Bengals cornerback Leon Hall (calf) didn't practice but he went through a walkthrough of sorts without his helmet in the last practice Friday before Sunday's road game (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) against the Redskins and was marked as questionable.

Hall didn't go through a rehab on the side in the first portion of practice and stayed on the field during the defense's team work and walked through some of the snaps, which indicates the Bengals are simply resting him. But given that head coach Marvin Lewis was so close-mouthed about Hall after practice indicates it is going to be a game-time call to see how he responds and nobody knows.

Blitz drills are being tough on the Bengals. Last week on Thursday WILL backer Thomas Howard was lost for the season when he tore his ACL on a blitz and this past Wednesday, Hall was apparently on a blitz when he jumped and did something to his calf.

How rare is that? The only games Hall has missed in his six seasons are the seven he lost last season to his torn Achilles.

But for the second straight day after they went full for the first time Wednesday, left end Carlos Dunlap (knee) and running back Bernard Scott (hand) were suited up and for the first time all year are probable and expected to play.

After practice Lewis said Dunlap, Scott and cornerback Jason Allen had good weeeks of practice and Allen is also probable for the first time this season.

Lewis also indicated rookie cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick won't be ready to play in a game until after the Oct. 28 bye. Kirkpatrick, the first-round pick who has had about a week's worth of practice and none in a month, did change of direction for the first time this week on his leg that is recovering from a bone spur near his knee.

"Jason has had a good week of work. Jason and Carlos and Bernard, all three of those guys have had good work this week. That's really what they all needed because they all hadn't practiced much," Lewis said. "It's been almost seven weeks for Bernard, eight weeks almost, six or seven for Carlos. Jason has had a spattering but pretty much the same way. Jason was kind of the workhorse the early part of training camp when everyone else was missing time. He was the guy who was out there every day and every play. When Adam (Jones) was out we were resting Leon periodically and Terence (Newman) missed even a couple of days. But it's been good. Jason it's good to get him back out and going and ready to go."

A refresher on Allen. He was signed to a two-year deal early in free agency and brings 23 starts in 94 games with the Dolphins and Texans and was the third corner in Houston's playoff run last season. He has played safety in the past, but he has been primarily at corner here.

"Jason is a smart player, he's a physical guy. He's got great speed. He's played so much football, he understands how to play around wide receivers," Lewis said. "That's key to being a successful cornerback in the NFL is just your way around the receiver. You can't be cumbersome. You have to kind of have the kid gloves type deal around the receiver and be able to play the ball in the air. That's what a successful corner in the NFL can do is play the ball in the air when he's at the point of attack. That's what he's demonstrated to us in viewing him on tape and what he's done here in the time that we have had with him. And a really smart guy, another smart guy."

Lewis says Kirkpatrick looks good after missing Thursday with flu-like symptoms, but that he'll need two to three weeks of football practice before he gets in a game.

"Maybe next week will be another step where he can do some things in practice. The worst part of this thing for Dre has been he hasn’t had an opportunity to practice football but really a week," Lewis said. "I think he really needs two or three weeks of football practice before he would ever be ready to get suited up and play in a game. It would be best for the benefit of him and the benefit of the football team to not put him out there before that, because he needs a lot of work on what to do and how to do it as well."

Lewis agreed that returning before the bye is a longshot

GRUDEN VS. HASLETT: Here's an intriguing matchup Sunday. Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden vs. Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, his head coach with the 2009 UFL's Florida Tuskers.

Gruden says Haslett is still a good friend and he just texted him this week griping about all his wacky blitzes. But Gruden says don't think a 2009 notebook is going to give him any clues to what Haslett is doing.

"Nah, 2009 is a long time ago. Guys change," Gruden said. "And in the UFL we could only use a 4-3 and not a 3-4, so there's not going to be anything. I learned a lot from the guy, though. He's very blunt, demanding, and he's done a lot in football both as a player and coach."

The Bengals have high regard for Haslett and the word around the building is that he's got the Redskins playing with the same fierce intensity as the Texans in a Steelers-like 3-4 scheme.

"They play hard no question," Gruden said. "But I don't know if I'd compare his scheme to anyone else's. There are things only he does."

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: For the second time in his 10 seasons Lewis celebrates his birthday on game day and he hopes his 54th is better than his 49th. That's when the Bengals blew a lead in Seattle in the last minute in a 24-21 loss in 2007.

"I’m not a big birthday person. I’m really not," Lewis said. "My birthday’s always been during football season, so I couldn’t really care less."

It's a good thing. He celebrated his 43rd birthday at Paul Brown Stadium, but it was in his last year as the Ravens defensive coordinator and the 1-0 Bengals upset the defending Super Bowl champs, 21-10. But he did know he shares the birthday with forrmer and current NFL head coaches John Harbaugh, Chris Palmer and Marty Schotteneimer.

GENTLEMANLY DIRECTIVE: The personable Lewis is known more for working the officials with first names and mutual acquaintances ("Hey, I just spoke to fill in the blank") rather than yelling at them, so this week's NFL directive to show the replacement officials respect wasn't needed at One Paul Brown Stadium.

"That's the way my boss feels and the way we've gone about it," Lewis said of not being confrontational. "I've always been very out front with our football team that way. You go play. These guys are a non-entity in the football game, they ought to be if you are doing things the way we coach you to do it. Play hard, play fast and good things will happen for us. Don't worry about the other. Once in a while our coaches get a little loud with the guy and I've got to back them down because I don't want them unnerving our football team in those situations."

P.B. HONORED: Miami University honors former Redhawk quarterback Paul Brown with the unveiling of a statue this weekend in its continuing salute to the alumni that made the school famous as "The Cradle of Coaches."

“My father was always proud of his ties to Miami, as a student and athlete and later as a trustee of the university," Bengals president Mike Brown said in a statement Friday. "It always had a special place in his heart. It would have pleased him to be honored in this way, tied in to the tradition of Miami football.”

MORE SCENES: As Lewis held post-practice court Friday, he expounded on his fond memories of late NFL Films president Steve Sabol and how the Bengals' appearance on the 2009 version of Hard Knocks came to pass. But snippets from when the Ravens were featured in the series earlier in the decade could surface with even more Lewis in the future.

While noting that Sabol had such a good feel for the story, Lewis recalled the footage of sons being around their coaching fathers.

"…He has video of guys when they were little with their dads coaching and so forth, (it shows) he had a knack for knowing this might be something special to have," Lewis said. "He would categorize that and log that stuff and archive it for future use."

Lewis smiled when asked if Sabol has film of him and his 22-year-old son Marcus, already a bright coaching prospect. Marcus was off playing in college when Hard Knocks came to Georgetown, but he was around in Baltimore.

"He has a lot of stuff. Marty and Brian (Schottenheimer), the Moras. It’s a great thing," Lewis said. "Going back from Baltimore and Marcus working training camp. He was 9 or 10 at the time. He’s got that kind of stuff. That was the thing Steve had and he could talk to the coaches that way. Guys that were senior to me like (Bill) Belichick, (Tom) Coughlin, (Mike) Holmgren, they respected him because guys knew his integrity."

And why did Lewis think the Bengals going on Hard Knocks would help when most people thought it would blow up a team that always seemed to melt in the spotlight in that era?

"What I got from it the first time around in Baltimore was how hard NFL Films guys worked to get their jobs done. It was a good lesson for our players to see," Lewis said. ''You know what; there are a lot of people that have jobs that are surrounded by the NFL ... food servers, whatever it may be. Watch these camera guys and how they're up first thing in the morning when the first guy is up moving until late at night when the last guy is moving around. It's just a great lesson and model to show our players.

"It was great insight for both the NFL fans and certainly the local Bengals fans and the national Bengals fans because they got to a chance to see behind the scenes of an NFL team."

Bengals president Mike Brown also had to be convinced and after Lewis spoke with club execs Katie and Troy Blackburn, he says they all met with Brown.

"They convinced Mike it wouldn’t be intrusive on him and he could still be himself and function without it being bothersome to him and the football team," Lewis said.

It worked all the way around. When the Bengals series won an Emmy, Sabol praised Brown for his total access and the Bengals became the first Hard Knocks team to win a division that same season.

WEATHER CHECK: The National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio is calling for no chance of rain in Landover, Md., Sunday with mostly sunny skies and temperatures around 70 with winds out of the northwest at 10-20 miles per hour.

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