Updated: 8-7-07, 6 a.m.
LewisGEORGETOWN, Ky. - Marvin Lewis is overseeing another Bengals first in his era when the Saints come to town a few days early next week to conduct a day of two joint practices on the Paul Brown Stadium practice fields.
A week from Thursday on Aug. 16 at 9:30 a.m. the Bengals and Saints don full pads and engage each other in a non-tackling workout. They'll do the same at 3 p.m. in shoulder pads and helmets in preparation for their Aug. 18 preseason game at PBS at 7:30 p.m.
On Friday Aug. 17 each team practices separately inside PBS.
"It's good work for guys fighting for jobs against a different speed and tempo," said Lewis after Monday night's practice.
With the Bengals' walking wounded piling up, there could be a concern that such an event may add to the injuries. But Lewis said he has a good enough relationship with Saints coach Sean Payton that he's confident there isn't going to be any head-hunting. Payton called Lewis with the idea and Lewis said Bengals president Mike Brown approved.
"What Sean and I have to do is impress upon everybody what we want out of it is not to one up each other," Lewis said. "That this is the chance to have good, productive work. Sean and I have known each other a long time, we've been friends a long time, and he felt it was something to his advantage and he called to ask me about it."
While on the staffs in Pittsburgh and Baltimore, Lewis scrimmaged against other teams and saw the benefits. It's something that Bengals founder Paul Brown never believed in.
"He didn't like heavy hitting in practices," said Dave Lapham, the Bengals radio analyst who played on Brown's last two offensive lines. "His philosophy was, 'We're not on our schedule. We don't play the Bengals, so why beat up the Bengals?' I kind of like this idea, though."
When Lapham went to the USFL's New Jersey Generals, he participated in a couple of those intersquad practices with Washington and Baltimore.
"The receivers and the DBs and the linemen working against each other in pass rush get so used to each other that you can do it in your sleep. You have it down after two weeks," Lapham said. "That's why the first preseason game is so rough. Now you get a new look, working against somebody you haven't seen."
The one down side, Lapham said, is that it isn't as controlled.
"I was in one of those where it's 'thump,' but don't take anybody to the ground, and that lasted for about a play," Lapham said. "But overall it's something that can be productive."
The Saints, coming off an appearance in the NFC title game as well as a drubbing by the Steelers in Sunday's Hall of Fame Game, will have played two games by the time they get to PBS while the Bengals prepare for their second.
It turns out that Brian Simmons and Kevin Kaesviharn are coming home a couple of days early. Simmons, a 10-year linebacker who spent his first nine seasons in Cincinnati, and Kaesviharn, a seventh-year safety who played his first six seasons here, signed with New Orleans during the offseason. Payton, a reigning NFL Coach of the Year, is a former of Miami of Ohio assistant.
The Bengals are now going to break camp a day early on Aug. 15. Instead of practicing in the afternoon that day, they will work for the final time in front of media and fans at Georgetown College from 9-11 a.m.
That may not harm attendance. On Monday morning, the college was surprised to find a crowd of about 2,500, a big number after the weekend's festivities and it matched what showed a few hours later for Monday night's practices.
Georgetown athletic director Eric Ward said attendance is down about an average of 25 to 100 cars each day from last year. Because of increased parking rates, it's not big enough to be an economic hit.
"The heat, gas prices, and 8-8," said Ward as reasons for the dip.
SLANTS AND SCREENS
Chad Johnson didn't work Monday night, but Lewis didn't seem concerned and he wouldn't say if Johnson will play Thursday. Lewis said Johnson twisted his ankle Monday morning "but is fine."
The Bengals announced before Monday night's practice that they had waived rookie running back Dan Burks of Alabama-Birmingham. Burks hurt his elbow in the intrasquad scrimmage. He reverts to the Bengals reserve/injured list if he clears waivers Tuesday.