The Bengals are in Atlanta for training camp with the Falcons today and Tuesday, giving both teams a chance to smack pads against new faces.
Smack talk is certain to follow in the two competitive practices leading up to Thursday’s preseason opener in the Georgia Dome. It’s not likely, however, to be at the level delivered by Falcons receiver Roddy White before the teams met for real during the 2010 regular season.
“I’m gonna get working on the DBs they have — I don’t even know these guys names — but hey, I’m gonna go at them … and we’re going to have a successful Sunday,” White said prior to the Falcons’ 39-32 win in Week 7. “We’re gonna shatter their dreams, hearts and desires on Sunday.”
Bengals cornerback Leon Hall remembers that day well. He and teammate Adam Jones got beat for a 43-yard touchdown, one of White’s two TDs in his 11-catch, 201-yard performance. He looks forward to reintroducing himself to White and the Falcons’ high-octane passing attack that also features $100 million quarterback Matt Ryan, receiver Julio Jones and tight end Tony Gonzalez.
“There’s some plays I could specifically bring up,” Hall said of that 2010 game. “There’s a few routes, but anyway … It’s completely different. It’s a different year, it’s preseason. It’s not like it’s week 12. I don’t think that has any play in it.
“I don’t think we will (get too physical), and even if it gets to that point I don’t see it escalating to something that’s going to make SportsCenter or something like that. I think guys realize what it is; we’re all there to get better, obviously, and still practice.”
The teams also met in the preseason last year, with Cincinnati coming away with a 24-19 win. White was held to four catches for 54 yards in limited time.
The Bengals left nine ailing players back in Cincinnati, including two of their top receivers. A.J. Green (knee) and Andrew Hawkins (ankle) didn’t make the trip. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Green will start on-field activities this week. Hawkins, however, was getting a second opinion in how to treat his ankle.
With neither team wanting to add to the injury report, competitive — but not too chippy — practices are expected.
“We want to practice as pros. You can’t push and shove on an NFL game field, so we don’t want it to happen while we’re in practice,” Lewis said. “You see a few instances of it here, and we’ll step in and get it broken up. If they can’t fix it, we’ll make them hold hands and skip off into the sunset or something.”
Besides, unlike that 2010 visit when White said the Falcons were going to “tell them leave quietly … this is my city,” the Bengals were invited this time.