Bengals, Giants want energetic but peaceful practices
CINCINNATI (AP) — They patted each other’s helmets when the horn sounded to end practice, then gave shoulder-bump hugs as they headed back to the Paul Brown Stadium locker rooms.
The first combined practice between the New York Giants and Cincinnati Bengals was downright respectful.
The teams got together Tuesday for the first of two combined workouts as they prepare for their preseason opener on Friday night at Paul Brown Stadium. Unlike a joint practice between the Redskins and the Texans that turned into a skirmish, there were no bad feelings as the teams went through various drills.
It went as the two coaches had expected.
“Fighting doesn’t work in football,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “You get ejected from the game. So it shouldn’t be an issue. You don’t see it happen on our field, so it won’t happen.”
The Bengals even laughed about the idea of having it out with the Giants during a practice.
“Yeah, they specifically came up to me and told me not to get into any fights,” Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton joked. “We want to be smart about what we’re doing. We don’t want to do anything stupid and get anybody hurt doing something unnecessary. That’s the big emphasis just because of all the other stuff that’s happened throughout the league.”
The Giants, too, had been told to be on good behavior. They figured that nothing would happen unless the Bengals instigated it.
“If a fight breaks out, everyone is trying to get in and police their guys,” Giants linebacker Jon Beason said before practice. “But we’re not going to take anything from anybody, our offense included. That’s our approach going into it. And hopefully we don’t have that happen.”
The only ugliness during the first practice? The Bengals’ starting offense.
The first time the two teams’ starters lined up for 11-on-11 plays, the Bengals had trouble doing the simplest things. Dalton completed a short pass to A.J. Green on the first play. Russell Bodine snapped the ball over Dalton’s head in the shotgun formation on the next play. Tight end Tyler Eifert then dropped a pass, and Bodine sailed another snap over Dalton’s head, prompting the coaches to change centers for the rest of the series.
“The elementary thing of getting the snap from center? Are you kidding me?” offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said. “That can’t happen.”
The Bengals also fumbled, had passes batted away, and missed throws.
“There’s a couple times I thought, ‘Wow, what’s going on here?”’ Jackson said.
Bengals running back Jeremy Hill enjoyed the chance to get on the same field again with former LSU teammate Odell Beckham Jr. They remained close friends during their impressive rookie seasons, talking virtually every day. They also like to try to top each other, although it was hard to decide bragging rights in a normal practice.
“All of us are very competitive,” Hill said. “All the guys I played with in college are very competitive, especially when we play against each other. It’s really bragging rights for that whole year. So we definitely lift each other’s games up.”
Notes: Lewis said the two coaching staffs exchanged their thoughts about how practices would be run beforehand, without going into detail about what types of plays each team would try to run. … Backup Bengals QB AJ McCarron didn’t suit up. He missed all of his rookie season because of a sore passing shoulder, but looked good in the team’s mock game on Saturday. Jackson said McCarron had some soreness and it’s unclear whether he’ll be available for the preseason game.
Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP—NFL