Monday, September 9, 2013
Bengals leave opener mostly healthy
By Coley Harvey
CINCINNATI -- Bengals coach Marvin Lewis told reporters in a news conference Monday afternoon that from a health standpoint, his team was in a good place after Sunday's season opener at Chicago.
"We are in pretty good shape," Lewis said.
Outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict and receiver A.J. Green were the only players who either had to be helped off the field or needed to be tended to on the sideline during the game. Even after their injuries, both remained in the game. Afterward, they said they would be fine and ready to go next Monday when Cincinnati hosts Pittsburgh in its home opener.
Burfict called his injury "just a bruise." He got it when Bears tight end Kyle Adams placed his helmet onto Burfict's right knee as he tried to tackle him at the end of a Burfict interception return. Green tweaked a finger on his left hand and had it taped in the second quarter of the 24-21 loss.
"Burfict will be sore," Lewis said. "But right now, I think he'll be OK. We'll see how the week goes on. We have a little extra day this week that will be helpful."
Lewis also said injured left offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth had an "opportunity" to play this weekend. The eight-year veteran and past Pro Bowl selection was held out of Sunday's game after missing the preseason following an offseason knee surgery. Whitworth didn't practice last week, although the Bengals thought there was a chance he might still be able to play.
In Whitworth's place, backup Anthony Collins got his first start in two years. Lewis saw some room for improvement for Collins, but he was mostly pleased with the effort he turned in. Only once was quarterback Andy Dalton sacked, and it was the result of a stunt from a defensive end past left guard Clint Boling. It also was the product of a slow-developing, broken play that forced Dalton to hold onto the ball a little too long.
"Anthony did a really good job. He can do better, he knows, but all in all he played a solid ballgame against a very good player," Lewis said, referencing Collins' work against intimidating, all-pro defensive end Julius Peppers. "If he's out there again this week he'll play against another good player. He's got to keep coming. That's where he is right now."