Updated: 1:45 p.m.
For the first time since Boomer Esiason came off the bench to engineer a Bengals victory in 1997, Cincinnati plays the Colts without Peyton Manning as their quarterback. The Bengals have never beaten Manning (0-7), so if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
A few months ago Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis advised rookie quarterback Andy Dalton to watch everything Manning did pregame when the Bengals played the Colts in the preseason finale. It never happened, of course, because Manning hasn’t played with a neck injury all season.
But it’s the thought that counts. It’s the same thought Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco had several years ago when Palmer and The Ocho famously drove up to Indy for a Monday night game to watch Manning work with his receivers.
“He’s a great role model for everybody,” Lewis said.
» The Bengals and Lewis were in this winless boat when they lost Palmer for 12 games in 2008 with an elbow injury. They were 0-4 with him and went to 0-8 until backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Bengals on a 4-3-1 finish. As he did before facing Fitzpatrick’s Bills two weeks ago, Lewis in his Wednesday news conference took the blame for not adjusting quickly enough to life without Palmer.
“We slapped around and won some games,” Lewis said. "Obviously the success of Ryan (showed) he was more capable than people thought he was. That’s my fault for not getting us in the right direction with him at the helm.”
Lewis says it's not the first time the first two Bengals draft picks have had such an impact during his tenure in the persons of Dalton and wide receiver
» Lewis had high praise for right tackle
» Lewis said there are two big reasons for the improved play of the defense. Not only the more consistent pass rush, but also the better pass coverage of all three starting backers.
» He said first-year middle linebacker
How key was Jones in stabilizing an injury-riddled Bengals defense when he arrived in 2007? In 2009, he became Lewis’ first middle linebacker to start back-to-back Opening Days since he took over in 2003. And Lewis says he was a great mentor to young players such as Maualuga and
“They followed him around like little chicks,” Lewis said.
"I'll be fuill speed. So I'll either get them or they'll get me," he said before Wednesday's practice.
» Lewis said the Bengals should get back cornerback
» Left tackle
» Maualuga said the linebackers and secondary have a bet on who gets the first interception of the season.