Wednesday notes: 32 days left; Uptempo; Dunlap, Benson sit; Woodley to play


Marvin Lewis

Updated: 4:30 p.m.

With Jack Del Rio fired in Jacksonville, only Bill Belichick in New England and Andy Reid in Philadelphia have been with their teams longer than Marvin Lewis's nine seasons in Cincinnati. He admits he's learned some things from the 2009 stretch in which his team ended the season 2-4 and got bounced in the first round of the playoffs.

"I'm not going to tell you because then you'll tell everybody else," Lewis said of the lesson during his Wednesday news conference.

Actually, he's been able to learn plenty and not just in '09. At 7-4, this is the sixth time his team has been at least .500 either before or after the first game in December as he bids for his third playoff berth. Lewis does know that the '09 team didn't play well down the stretch and thinks this team won't respond like that.

His players say there are virtually no similarities between this team and that one.

"We've got a lot of new guys on the squad," said defensive tackle Domata Peko, who missed that '09 run with arthroscopic knee surgery. "We've got a lot of hungry, young relentless kind of dudes on this squad. It's a lot different team than '09. This team is a mix of older and younger guys."

Lewis began the week emphasizing that there are just 32 days left in the season.

"We don't have much time and if we're going to make a run we have to start now," Peko said. "I think we stated that last week when Marv came in and said there are six games left and each of them is huge."

» The Bengals spent the month of November trailing. They were down 17-7 at the half in Tennessee, down 14-0 to the Steelers after the first 11 minutes, down 24-14 in Baltimore in the first 34 minutes, and down 17-7 at the half against Cleveland last week and ended up going 2-2. Peko said the coaches are going to stress a quicker start in Wednesday's practice by going more up-tempo.

» Safety Jeromy Miles got one extra tackle that wasn't on the stat sheet in Sunday's game from special teams coach Darrin Simmons. That gave him five against the Browns and Miles said Simmons told him that was the most in a game during his nine seasons here.

» Left end Carlos Dunlap, who missed two of the last four games with a hamstring problem, may miss his second Pittsburgh game. He worked on the side Wednesday and said he's taking it "day-by-day."

» Also sitting were running back Ceric Benson (foot), wide receiver Jerome Simpson (knee), cornerbacks Brandon Ghee (groin) and Nate Clements (not injury related), and safety Chris Crocker (biceps). Clements and Crocker usually rest their knees on Wednesday, and Benson didn't indicate he had a problem after coming in from the morning walkthrough.

Peko, who played with his foot injury Sunday, also didn't work.

Gerry Dulac of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring), who missed the game three weeks ago and hasn't played in a month, is on track to come back for the Bengals game this Sunday.

» Tight end Donald Lee (foot), who has missed the last three games, indicated he'd be able to return this week…Defensive tackle Pat Sims, who injured an ankle on Sunday, was on the field. They were limited.

» Bengals fans donated 8,120 pounds of non-perishable and canned goods and $14,021 in cash to help feed the hungry in Cincinnati as they made their way into Sunday's game. Fans surpassed last year's canned food drive by 1,000 pounds of food and exceeded cash donations by $2,600. The Freestore Foodbank plans to distribute more than 790,000 pounds of food during the three days prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas. The food and donations collected at the Cincinnati Bengals Canned Food Drive provide holiday meals for more than 23,000 families in the Tri-State.

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