James Wright is one of the rookies who are going to get plenty of snaps Thursday.
The Bengals are going to get plenty of first impressions about their depth when they open the preseason Thursday (8 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) in Kansas City. Particularly on offense, where many key players won't be suited up for what head coach Marvin Lewis says will be either one or two series from quarterback Andy Dalton.
At his Tuesday news conference after a shoulder pads practice, Lewis said the players who just came off the physically unable to perform list (PUP) this week won't play. That takes starters Andrew Whitworth (calf) at left tackle, Marvin Jones (ankle) at wide receiver, and Jermaine Gresham (back) at tight end out of the mix. Also not expected to play are two more starting offensive linemen in right tackle Andre Smith (concussion) and left guard Clint Boling (knee). Backup left guard Mike Pollak (knee), out the last week after coming off PUP, also isn't expected to play.
That means there are going to be some rookies getting even more playing time, such as free-agent guard Trey Hopkins.
"We're not going to do much and call much that's going to confuse them," Lewis said. "Just play football, focus on your keys, focus on your responsibility, get your eyes where they belong and look at what you're supposed to be looking at. Then go play and play hard."
Linebackers JK Schaffer (concussion) and Sean Porter (unknown) also aren't expected to go.
PLAYER OF THE DAY: The Bengals prepped for the Chiefs with a lot of card work Tuesday as the offense and defense took turns against their backups to get looks against what they figure to see in the game.
But three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green is always worth the price of admission, even when there is none. In limited reps for the first teamers (quarterback Andy Dalton was seven of nine passing in 11-on-11); Green still managed some nice catches.
He caught a long bomb off a flea flicker from Dalton and followed it up with a vintage red-zone touchdown catch that proved to be a lesson for rookie linebacker Marquis Flowers. Flowers let Green get behind him and when Dalton floated it over the goal line, Green jackknifed into the air and pulled the ball out of the air like a rebound.
PLAY OF THE DAY: Cornerback Terence Newman is one of the reasons this locker room is so good for this team. He's the personification of the term "professional," and this is why:
It's doubtful Newman is even going to play eight snaps Thursday as the starter. It was just a Tuesday practice in shoulder pads getting ready for a pre-season opener. And here he's 30 days shy of 36 and a top five draft pick with two Pro Bowls and he sees the ball in the air. Newman thought he had a shot if he dove in front of the receiver. He just missed it, but was admonished by Lewis, "Get off the ground, 23, get off the ground."
"My bad, coach, my bad," Newman said as he scrambled to his feet.
Later he reflected, "I shouldn't have dove, but you always want to get an interception."
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "It's hard to eat when you're looking at somebody else's plate."
Veteran cornerback R.J. Stanford talking about his mentality as he fights for what appears to be that sixth and last cornerback spot.
"I focus on my play," Stanford said. "I focus on what I have on my plate and what I have to do and just be consistent."
It's been a pretty good philosophy for the last three years, when he's hooked and averaged 13 games a year for Carolina and Miami.
AJ McCarron is throwing the ball these days 55 to 65 yards and he says he's feeling good enough to do it every day. But he's still doing it after practice and he has no idea when he'll get put back on the field.
Every day the routine is the same. McCarron starts out throwing from about seven yards from rehab chief Nick Cosgray and they lengthen it out about 10 yards so after each set of passes.
"I always think I could be out there,' McCarron said after Tuesday's practice. "That's up to the coaches, the training staff and Mr. (Mike) Brown. Whatever they tell me to do, that's what I'm doing."
Right now, that means plenty of rehab for his right shoulder and no word if they plan to put him on season-ending injured reserve. They just want him to get healthy. When McCarron arrived out of Alabama in the fifth round back in May, he had tightness in his shoulder and after taking a few weeks off, came back late in the OTAs. But he might have tried to do too much too soon and found himself back on the rehab field when training camp started.
In an effort to make sure he doesn't have another flare up, the Bengals are taking it slow. McCarron gets it, but that doesn't make watching any easier.
"You want to compete and it's tough to watch others do it," McCarron said. "It's the competitor in you."
And McCarron is every inch the competitor. Here's a guy that came within a once-in-a-lifetime play of quarterbacking three straight national titles at Alabama with endless gutsy intangibles. It's that competitiveness that may have slowed things up here.
"I always play through injury," McCarron said. "That's what I wanted to do. I was out there with my friends and teammates, the team needed me and I wasn't going to come out. It probably wasn't the best for (the arm), that's just what I wanted to do. Nobody made me go out there."