Updated: 8:15 p.m.
GEORGETOWN, Ky. - The Bengals go prime time Friday night in their 8 p.m. preseason opener in New Orleans, but they go big time Wednesday night at 10 p.m. in HBO's training camp documentary Hard Knocks as chronicled by NFL Films.
The crew has pretty much kept a lid on the storylines in the first of five episodes, but obvious subjects to be touched on are tight end Reggie Kelly's season-ending Achilles injury, tight end Ben Utecht's scary concussion that left him prone on the field for about a dozen minutes, and the antics of wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.
Head coach Marvin Lewis, along with some Bengals officials and public relations staffers, have already seen the finished product. But in deference to the production, Lewis wouldn’t even comment on if he liked it.
Even as Lewis buttoned his lip, the crew was still grinding to get the thing in the can. Back at a Marriott in Lexington, Ky., director Steve Trout was looking at final feeds at 1 o'clock Wednesday morning from NFL Films in Mount Laurel, N.J., and the voiceover wasn't done until Wednesday during the day.
Noted actor Liev Schreiber is narrating his second straight Hard Knocks, but at the moment he's touring with a Shakespeare festival in London and it turned into a voiceover over the Atlantic. Plus, the final audio mixing and the final graphics were completed while the Bengals practiced Wednesday afternoon with the finished product streaming to HBO as Lewis called his team up at 5 p.m. to end practice.
But as Trout said, "I'm already into the second show."
There appears to be nothing organized for the team to watch it as a group, but TVs will be available in the cafeteria here at Georgetown College. There is a curfew Wednesday night with the team set to leave for New Orleans on Thursday afternoon. Lewis already gave the team Wednesday morning off when he took them to see the movie G.I. Joe.
In middle linebacker Dhani Jones, the Bengals already have a reality show star off his stint in Dhani Tackles The Globe for the Travel Channel. He thinks it will be a pretty straightforward look at the team.
"This is a team that's been talked about in every state and fashion and now people see how we care about football and how we come to work every day," Jones said. "It's a little bit different (than my show) but at the same time similar. (The cameras) are only meant to be flies on the wall in order to catch those quaint moments when you're not looking to discover the real side of who you are as a football player. Just like Dhani Tackles The Globe."
SAINTS SETUP: Head coach Marvin Lewis said Wednesday that quarterback Carson Palmer will play 12-15 snaps against the Saints (Channel 12 in Cincinnati, channels 22 and 45 in Dayton, Ohio, channels 6 and 28 in Columbus, Ohio, and Channel 41 in Louisville, Ky).
Everybody else, he says, is on notice. Out for the game are wide receiver Antonio Chatman (ankle), linebacker Brandon Johnson (hamstring), defensive tackle Pernell Phillips (groin), center-guard Dan Santucci (foot), cornerback David Jones (foot), guard Evan Mathis (muscles), and Utecht (concussion). Lewis said linebacker Rey Maualuga (muscles) may not play, but will definitely play next Thursday against the Patriots. Also defensive Frostee Rucker looks to be out against New Orleans with a hip he injured last week.
SLANTS AND SCREENS
» Lewis had high praise for defensive lineman Jon Fanene, saying he's been as impressive as any player in camp. "Jon came here as a guy (seventh round in '05) who hadn't played a lot of football. As he has grown over the years, you really see all of Jon's work paying off. His study and learning how to play defensive line from a technical standpoint really paying off now." You'll see him at both tackle and end Friday.
» Rookie running back Bernard Scott says special teams coach Darrin Simmons has given him about a week more to improve on catching punts. He's never done it before and he's trying to get coordinated in catching the ball and then making his moves. He's more at ease returning kicks because he's done it. Rookie receiver Quan Cosby, rookie safety cornerback Tom Nelson and veteran running back DeDe Dorsey are also going to get shots returning both Friday.
» With Chatman out for possibly a couple of more weeks, if one of these guys don't make a move, the Bengals may have to keep Chatman despite the injury.
» Nelson got kicked in the leg Wednesday and finished practice icing on the sidelines, but he should be ready for Friday.