Lewis gets ‘great tape’ from Bengals-Falcons day

Cincinnati’s Michael Johnson couldn’t believe how quickly the
afternoon disappeared as the visiting Bengals shared practice with
the Atlanta Falcons.

The defensive end says he enjoyed almost everything about
Monday’s change of pace in the Bengals’ training camp.

”It’s fun getting to see how people do things at other places
and get to switch up the scenery a little bit and have a different
climate, all of that,” Johnson said. ”It’s fun. Practice went by
fast, it seemed like to me.

”It just gives you a different look to go against different
guys. It was fun to go against different people and also fun to be
back down South.”

The 90-degree Georgia heat was a definite change of pace, even
for Johnson, an Alabama native and former Georgia Tech star.

”We had to get used to the heat a little at first,” Johnson
said. ”We had a pretty good day. It wasn’t too tough. A little
humidity. Nothing we can’t handle though.”

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and Falcons coach Mike Smith also
applauded the first of two days of shared practices before the
teams meet in their preseason opener on Thursday night.

Lewis said the combined practice sessions produced ”got great
tape to evaluate” as he contemplates roster decisions.

”That’s really part of being here,” Lewis said. ”It’s another
opportunity for us to evaluate our players, particularly our guys
who are trying to make our club or trying to push for more playing

In an attempt to guard against injuries, there was no tackling
to the ground.

Smith had no update on Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who
left practice early.

Matt Ryan and other Atlanta quarterbacks wore yellow no-contact
jerseys. Andy Dalton and the Bengals quarterbacks wore orange

For the Cincinnati defense, the practice against Ryan and
receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones provided a good test.

”It was good work against different looks and different
concepts and things like that, the way they develop,” Lewis said.
”It’s great to have to react that way.”

For the most part, the coaches’ efforts to control the tempo
were successful. There was one very brief exchange of shoves late
in the practice.

”You’re always competitive any time you’re out there,” Johnson
said. ”You want to put your best stuff out there. We’re all
professional and we all understand it is practice. If you need to
pull up here or there to protect yourself, you do that.

”The main guys you really have to worry about are the younger
guys who aren’t used to taking care of each other. The main thing
is we want to get to the gate healthy.”

Smith was a position coach with Baltimore from 1999-2002 when
Lewis was the Ravens’ defensive coordinator. He said it was
”wonderful” to be back on the same field with Lewis.

”Marvin I consider a mentor to me,” Smith said.

The coaches mapped out plans for the combined practices in May.
Smith said players stuck to the script.

”I thought the guys executed extremely well today,” Smith
said. ”They had an understanding of what we wanted to accomplish
and we were able to do that the entire practice.”

Starters saw more work Monday than they are expected to receive
on Thursday night. For the Bengals, one area of emphasis will be
the competition between Josh Johnson and John Skelton to win the
backup job at quarterback.

The Falcons are looking for new starters on the offensive line.
Rookie cornerback Desmond Trufant, the first-round pick, has been
with the first-team defense throughout camp.

Another rookie, Robert Alford, also is competing for playing
time at cornerback. Monday was the first chance for the rookies to
line up against another team.

”I’ve been going against Julio and Roddy the whole camp,”
Alford said. ”They’ve been getting me better in my technique.
Today it just felt good to go against an opposite team. It was a
good change of pace.”

Following another shared practice on Tuesday, the teams plan
separate workouts on Wednesday before Thursday night’s game at the
Georgia Dome.