CINCINNATI –** The Giants players and head coach said their first joint practice today with the Cincinnati Bengals was an unqualified success.
"It's good to get to work against another team," coach Tom Coughlin said. "Both teams did a good job of making sure that, although they were fast and crisp, for the most part, kept the piles to a minimum and did a good job that way. I thought the initial special teams drills were good. Then I picked my spots the rest of the way. But it's good to work against the Bengals. (Coach) Marvin (Lewis) did a very good job of preparing his team for this and our guys came in and did a nice job as well."
"I thought (we) had good intensity on both sides of the ball, but everybody just kind of played to the whistle," quarterback Eli Manning said. "There were no extracurricular activities, guys were smart about it, and I think we had good work. Defensively, they showed some different looks, stuff that we don't game plan for, we don't prepare for, and you have to come in and make our calls, get on the same page, but get the ball snapped and get going. Follow your rules and your assignments, make sure you can do it, and make adjustments. I thought we had good work and it was a good day."
Although the teams separated at times, most of the two-hour, full-pads practice – which began with punting and punt return drills - consisted of the Giants' offense facing the Bengals' defense, and their defense squaring off vs. Cincinnati's offense. There were one-on-one receiver/defensive back, running back/linebacker, and linemen pass block/rush drills. In addition, the sides engaged in three periods of full-team work that included no-huddle and red zone/green zone work, and kicked field goals.
"It was some good work to see some different stuff, and make some adjustments on the things we haven't seen before," wide receiver Rueben Randle said. "You get a feel for different guys (cornerbacks), and see what you need to improve on, see what you can work on to get better.
As long as we take something and learn from it, that's pretty much the basis of why we came here."
"I didn't know what to expect," linebacker Devon Kennard said. "It was fun, it was nice to be able to hit some other colors for once. It's been a while, and to just be able to compete against a talented offense, and some guys who really know what they're doing - they've been a successful team the last couple years. It was nice to be able to just work our new defense under Spags (defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo) against another opponent besides ourselves. I had a blast out there."
The fighting that has marred some other two-team practices was avoided as the players stuck to the script. Coughlin said that was due to his in part to his relationship with Lewis and their months of meticulous planning for these workouts.
"It has to be someone you trust, because obviously there is an awful lot at stake when you work," Coughlin said. "But it is good for your team to work against someone else, the intensity goes up a notch and they realize all the drills are meant for their own improvement and to get a handle on where your team exactly is. I think from that standpoint, I thought the Bengals did a good job preparing for us and things went well."
The teams will work together again tomorrow in shoulder pads and shorts, and the Giants will look to build on the work they did today.
"Personally, as a unit, I thought we came out fast," linebacker Jon Beason said. "We were very dominant, I think, just in terms of executing and doing jobs and being where we're supposed to be. I thought we played fast, but there was a late fourth quarter fizzle, and that's just unacceptable. It seems like we took our foot off the gas. We didn't finish the way we were supposed to, the way we need to finish opening night against Dallas. We're going to need that extra gear. You would love to see us continue to go out and execute. I think there's a respect factor there based on what we showed. I think they would say the same. They would probably also say that we didn't finish."
The teams will work separately on Thursday and meet in the preseason opener Friday.
Practice photos during the Giants joint-practice with the Cincinnati Bengals on Tuesday
- Wide receiver Victor Cruz participated in Giants-only drills, not the practice periods that involved the Bengals. The Giants do not want to risk putting Cruz's surgically-repaired right knee (patellar tendon) in harm's way.
"It's tough, but you have to understand the bigger picture," Cruz said. "Coach doesn't want anything crazy to happen, and you have to understand that. You have to listen to what coach is telling you to do. Hopefully I can get out there and do a little something tomorrow, but we'll leave it up to coach, so we'll see."
What did he do as a spectator with intimate knowledge of what was happening in front of him?
"I'm just listening to the plays, going through the routes in my head, and what everybody has," Cruz said. "Making sure that I'm staying on top of what routes we have. I'm just watching individual players, seeing what they're doing, seeing what technique they're getting, how they're getting off the press, things like that. Kind of just take mental reps."
The practice fields are right outside Paul Brown Stadium, named after the founder of the Bengals and Pro Football Hall of Fame coach. The game Friday will be played in the stadium. Coughlin was asked if Brown had any effect on him.
"When I was 12 years old, after a game, probably a Giant playoff game, I sent him a note and he sent one back," Coughlin said. "That was the highlight of someone of his stature of that time reacting to me sitting there critiquing his game at the age of, like, 12. Tremendous history. All you have to do is think about the man's success and his career, way back in the beginning, high school."
- Rueben Randle left practice early and had ice bags on both knees. Coughlin said that was because of tendonitis.
- Cornerback Prince Amukamara, who has a groin injury, was on the field, but didn't wear pads or participate in any drills.
"I'm definitely happy to be here, happy to just experience what it looks like to practice against another team," Amukamara said. "Don't know if I'm doing anything at all. I just got a cortisone shot yesterday, so I think the doctor said the smartest thing is to not do anything for a couple of days. I just got to talk to the medical staff more about my timeline right now. If I'm healthy enough, I would love to be out there and go against the guys."
- Five Giants did not make the trip because of injuries: tackle Will Beatty, guard Geoff Schwartz, linebacker Jameel McClain, safety Nat Berhe, and cornerback Chykie Brown.