Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green is expected to make his preseason debut Saturday night against the Dallas Cowboys, but head coach Marvin Lewis said he doesn’t expect Green to see as much action as the other starters.
“Each player has to be handled individually,” Lewis said Thursday afternoon following the team’s final practice before flying to Dallas. “It will be good to at least play a little bit, and it will be fun for him to play. He wants to play. He’s ready to play, and we’ll go from there.”
Offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth, cornerback Adam Jones and linebacker James Harrison were among the Cincinnati Bengals who returned to practice Thursday.
Asked about the possibility of Whitworth seeing action in Dallas, Lewis said, “We’ll see.”
Defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who suffered a concussion on July 28, practiced all week and seems to be on track to make his preseason debut against the Cowboys.
“He’s done good,” Lewis said. “We’ll see how he is (Friday) and Saturday.”
Safety George Iloka also was back on the field with his broken right hand wrapped in a splint. Lewis said Iloka could play with the splint on if he had to, but it’s doubtful he will.
Offensive lineman Tanner Hawkinson also returned to action after suffering an ankle injury in the preseason opener in Atlanta on Aug. 8, but it’s unlikely he will play against the Cowboys.
Cornerback Brandon Ghee (head) and defensive end Robert Geathers (undisclosed) also are not expected to play after not practicing all week.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu celebrated his 24th birthday Thursday.
Asked what the best birthday gift he ever received was, Sanu said, “Just getting to play football on my birthday. It’s always during the season, so I’ve always had a practice or a game on my birthday. The birthday games are the most memorable.”
Five current Bengals player could get the experience of playing on their birthday this year. Rookie tight end Tyler Eifert is likely to make his NFL debut on his 23rd birthday Sept. 8 in Chicago. Undrafted rookie free agent linebacker Jayson DiManche, if he makes the team, will turn 23 on Sept. 22 when the Bengals play host to the Green Bay Packers.
Cornerback Shaun Prater turns 24 on Oct. 27, when the Bengals play host to the New York Jets. Quarterback Zac Robinson will be 27 on Sept. 29, the day the Bengals play at Cleveland. And Dane Sanzenbacher turns 25 on Oct. 13 when the team will be in Buffalo.
The next-to-last preseason game is referred to as the dress rehearsal because it’s the one that most simulates a regular season game, with the starters usually playing the entire first half and sometimes into the second half.
But it is a game that has not been kind to the Bengals in recent history.
Cincinnati is 2-8 in “dress rehearsals” under Marvin Lewis and has lost 10 of its last 12 overall heading into Saturday night’s game at Dallas. The last time the Bengals won a penultimate preseason game on the road was 1996 when they beat Washington 28-7.