Updated: 6 p.m.
With the regular season-opener 17 days away and the preseason finale set for Indianapolis on Thursday night, some key Bengals stepped up their rehabs at Friday's walkthrough and head coach Marvin Lewis said all the players who missed the last game are either ahead of schedule or on schedule medically. Which means most are going to play in the Sept. 10 regular-season opener in Baltimore.
Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (foot) appeared on the field and was cutting while left end Robert Geathers (knee scope) ran and did some drills. Cornerbacks Jason Allen and Adam Jones, fighting muscle pulls, also ran hard on the side, as did defensive tackle Pat Sims with his camp-long hamstring issue. Sims is a candidate to start the season on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) and not be eligible to practice for the first six weeks of the season.
Center Kyle Cook appeared in a boot on the side, but it's believed to be precautionary and not serious.
FRIDAY MOVES: As expected Friday, the Bengals put on season-ending injured reserve a pair cornerbacks in three-year veteran Brandon Ghee (wrist) and fifth-rounder Shaun Prater (knee), as well as ninth-year left guard Travelle Wharton as he undergoes ACL surgery in his right knee.
But unexpectedly they also iced second-year safety Robert Sands, needing surgery for a chest injury suffered on special teams last week in Atlanta, as well as rookie wide receiver/cornerback Taveon Rogers after he injured his shoulder Thursday night against the Packers.
The Bengals also released veteran running back Aaron Brown, first-year guard Matt Murphy, rookie quarterback Tyler Hansen and rookie defensive end Luke Black.
The release of Black, signed last week, could be a good sign for the return of left end Robert Geathers as he heads into his third week rehabbing from arthroscopic knee surgery. Brown, with two yards on three carries, and Hansen, throwing a pick-six late in the game, struggled against the Packers.
The moves would seem to indicate that fifth-rounder George Iloka, a safety out of Boise State, has an excellent chance at making the final 53-man roster and that Brian Leonard and Cedric Peerman look like they're on track to return to back up Green-Ellis and Bernard Scott. Green-Ellis (foot) has missed the last two preseason games and may start practicing next week, but it's doubtful he'll play in the preseason finale Thursday night in Indianapolis and Scott (hand) looks like he'll be questionable for the Sept. 10 opener in Baltimore. As does left end Carlos Dunlap (knee).
The rule that allows one player to go on the injured reserve list for eight games instead of all 16 has been tabled and while Lewis says Ghee would have fit into that category, the rule was designed with quarterbacks and top players in mind. While Ghee was seen as a valuable contributor as a possible third or fourth corner, Lewis said he doesn't see the lack of the rule making a big impact on the roster.
When the Bengals went into Friday's practice in Paul Brown Stadium, they had 76 players on the roster and need to be at 75 Monday.
MONDAY, MONDAY:Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has a renunion with brother Jon when their season opens in Baltimore Monday night Sept. 10 on ESPN, where Jon is the analyst.
That may be the farthest thing from Jay's mind after his first-teamers managed just one first down on eight third-down tries and had a passer rating of 39.6 during Thursday night's 27-13 loss to the Packers.
But he's hoping his brother's TV lights are some of the things that can help get the Bengals out of the current funk.
"It starts with the intensity and the enthusiasm to play the game. We came out flat," Jay Gruden said after Friday's walkthrough. "Nobody really made any plays. There was nothing out of ordinary. Just a bunch of ordinary things.
"We can all learn from this that we're not a good enough football team to come out flat and uninspired. That's something hopefully Monday Night Football will take care of."