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.