The Bengals' two Pro Bowl defenders, defensive tackle Geno Atkins (feet) and WILL backer Vontaze Burfict (concussion) sat out Wednesday's practice.
Burfict appears to be progressing in the protocol after his hit on Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco late in the first half Sunday. He was not only at the facility, but on the field with the backers. Atkins was also with his linemates, suggesting he's OK. It's unclear if he sat out with the sore feet that caused him to get carted off after the game or if he's going to rest his surgically-repaired ACL once a week. But all signs are he's playing Sunday.
Also sitting out were guard Mike Pollak (knee) and linebacker Sean Porter (hamstring). It looks like Pollak is resting his knee once a week because he did it last Wednesday and was still active for the game.
It looks like the Bengals are going to have rookie cornerback Darqueze Dennard (hip) and rookie wide receiver James Wright (concussion) for the first time Sunday. They went full go Wednesday. So did end Margus Hunt (ribs) after apparently getting nicked in the game.
Wide receiver A.J. Green (foot) was limited, as was right tackle Andre Smith (shoulder) and end Carlos Dunlap (hamstring).
SLANTS AND SCREENS:
The NFL's two most prolific punt returners square off in Sunday's 1 p.m. Paul Brown Stadium opener against the Falcons. Atlanta's Devin Hester is the leader among active players with 13 touchdowns and Bengals cornerback Adam jones is second with five. But Jones has no doubts.
"I'm better,' Jones said. "I didn't play for 2.5 years.
"I'm sorry. He's a good returner, but he's not better than me. He played more games than me, way more games than me. I don't feel like there's anybody better than me when I'm right there. I've said that a long time before right now."
Hester has played in 40 more games than Jones and has 137 more returns. Jones has a lead on him this year. He popped a 45-yarder in Baltimore on his lone return and Hester had just one yard on one return against New Orleans.
Hester isn't known for catching the ball, but he had five for 99 yards last Sunday and Jones says he could do that, too.
"If I had the opportunity I could, especially against the Saints," he said... Lewis refused to discuss why the Bengals took A.J. Green No. 4 in the 2011 draft instead of Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones. "That does no good,' he said. But he had to smile when he moved on to Falcons running back Steven Jackson, a guy the Bengals discussed in the first round of the 2004 draft before taking Chris Perry.
"Speaking of old draft comparisons," Lewis said…..
With tight end Tyler Eifert (elbow) on injured reserve-recall and eligible to return to practide in six weeks and play against New Orleans Nov. 16, don't look for the Bengals to replace him on the roster this week. They'll probably wait to fill it with backup cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris, back Monday from an NFL suspension...