- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Ravens reporter
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The Ravens and Bengals play their third game of the preseason, and you know what that means. It's the most important week of the meaningless games, or something like that. This is the game that most teams consider the "dress rehearsal" for the regular season. Maybe it's just me, but that still doesn't sound too exciting. If you want real excitement, here's your wake-up call:
BENGALS: Starting running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (toe) is out for a second straight preseason game, and top backup Bernard Scott (hand) will miss his third consecutive one. Injuries have hindered the Bengals' retooled rushing attack. The team has averaged 2.3 yards per carry on first down, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “We have to be a little more consistent, stay on things and get some space and movement," coach Marvin Lewis said. "And obviously we need to hold on to the ball." Running backs Brian Leonard and Cedric Peerman each fumbled in the last preseason game.
BROWNS: Team president Mike Holmgren told Sports Time Ohio that running back Trent Richardson "should be back on the field doing something next week." Holmgren also said there's a chance that Richardson will be back for the season opener but that the team will be smart. This seems to cast more doubt than before on whether Richardson will be ready on Sept. 9. Before the Browns were "hopeful" he would play, now they're going to be "smart" about playing him. In other news, cornerback Joe Haden returned for the afternoon walk-through after getting kicked out of morning practice by coach Pat Shurmur. After talking to Haden, Shurmur said, "Everything's fine. It's a dead issue." It's tough to sweep something under the rug when it happened at a practice attended by fans and the media.
RAVENS: The Ravens' no-huddle, three-receiver offense put Vonta Leach on the sidelines for the first two drives in the last preseason game. The Pro Bowl fullback made sure the coaches didn't forget about him. "All I did was hear him for the first two drives in my ear,” coach John Harbaugh said, via the team's official website. "He was a little testy about not being out there, which is what you want. You want all of your guys to [want] to play.” The Ravens have to be careful not to phase out Leach from their offense. With Leach last season, running back Ray Rice averaged 4.7 yards per carry and scored 12 rushing touchdowns.
STEELERS: Running back Isaac Redman woke up pain-free after his first full practice Tuesday. But he acknowledged that his hip injury, which sidelined him for the second preseason game, could be a season-long issue. "It's pretty much a pain-tolerance thing," Redman said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "It might nag me throughout the year. I'm just going to have to fight through the pain." My guess is that Redman won't be missing any regular-season games. This is his first crack at a starting running back job, and he can't let this opportunity go to waste. Durability has been an issue with Redman (he has double-digit carries in four career games), and it will become a bigger one if he sits out any games.
The Ravens and Bengals play their third game of the preseason, and you know what that means. It's the most important week of the meaningless games, or something like that.