Thursday November 26th, 2015 6:12PM

Falcons and Bengals take much from practice sessions

By The Associated Press
FLOWERY BRANCH -- Cincinnati's Michael Johnson couldn't believe how quickly the afternoon disappeared as the visiting Bengals shared practice with the Atlanta Falcons.

The defensive end says he enjoyed almost everything about Monday's change of pace in the Bengals' training camp.

"It's fun getting to see how people do things at other places and get to switch up the scenery a little bit and have a different climate, all of that," Johnson said. "It's fun. Practice went by fast, it seemed like to me.

"It just gives you a different look to go against different guys. It was fun to go against different people and also fun to be back down South."

The 90-degree Georgia heat was a definite change of pace, even for Johnson, an Alabama native and former Georgia Tech star.

"We had to get used to the heat a little at first," Johnson said. "We had a pretty good day. It wasn't too tough. A little humidity. Nothing we can't handle though."

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and Falcons coach Mike Smith also applauded the first of two days of shared practices before the teams meet in their preseason opener on Thursday night.

Lewis said the combined practice sessions produced "got great tape to evaluate" as he contemplates roster decisions.

"That's really part of being here," Lewis said. "It's another opportunity for us to evaluate our players, particularly our guys who are trying to make our club or trying to push for more playing time."

In an attempt to guard against injuries, there was no tackling to the ground.

Smith had no update on Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who left practice early.

Matt Ryan and other Atlanta quarterbacks wore yellow no-contact jerseys. Andy Dalton and the Bengals quarterbacks wore orange jerseys.

For the Cincinnati defense, the practice against Ryan and receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones provided a good test.

"It was good work against different looks and different concepts and things like that, the way they develop," Lewis said. "It's great to have to react that way."

For the most part, the coaches' efforts to control the tempo were successful. There was one very brief exchange of shoves late in the practice.

"You're always competitive any time you're out there," Johnson said. "You want to put your best stuff out there. We're all professional and we all understand it is practice. If you need to pull up here or there to protect yourself, you do that.

"The main guys you really have to worry about are the younger guys who aren't used to taking care of each other. The main thing is we want to get to the gate healthy."

Smith was a position coach with Baltimore from 1999-2002 when Lewis was the Ravens' defensive coordinator. He said it was "wonderful" to be back on the same field with Lewis.

"Marvin I consider a mentor to me," Smith said.

The coaches mapped out plans for the combined practices in May. Smith said players stuck to the script.

"I thought the guys executed extremely well today," Smith said. "They had an understanding of what we wanted to accomplish and we were able to do that the entire practice."

Starters saw more work Monday than they are expected to receive on Thursday night. For the Bengals, one area of emphasis will be the competition between Josh Johnson and John Skelton to win the backup job at quarterback.

The Falcons are looking for new starters on the offensive line. Rookie cornerback Desmond Trufant, the first-round pick, has been with the first-team defense throughout camp.

Another rookie, Robert Alford, also is competing for playing time at cornerback. Monday was the first chance for the rookies to line up against another team.

"I've been going against Julio and Roddy the whole camp," Alford said. "They've been getting me better in my technique. Today it just felt good to go against an opposite team. It was a good change of pace."

Following another shared practice on Tuesday, the teams plan separate workouts on Wednesday before Thursday night's game at the Georgia Dome.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Bartus, Icemen shuts out Gwinnett
Garrett Bartus pitched a 42 save shutout, as the Evansville IceMen topped the Gwinnett Gladiators on a New year
10:23PM ( 1 year ago )
Gator Bowl Preview Capsule
A rematch of last year's Capital One Bowl, which Georgia won 45-31 in Orlando.
8:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Millsap's 34 leads Hawks past Celtics
Paul Millsap had season highs with 34 points and 15 rebounds as the Hawks rallied from an 18-point deficit for a 92-91 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday afternoon.
7:44PM ( 1 year ago )
Falcons fire offensive, defensive line coaches
The Atlanta Falcons have fired defensive line coach Ray Hamilton and offensive line coaches Pat Hill and Paul Dunn.
7:02PM ( 1 year ago )
Best, worst of Falcons' 4-12 season
Best Game: They'd been eliminated from playoff contention previous week vs. New Orleans, but the Falcons showed some heart with Dec. 1 overtime victory over Bills in Toronto.
6:21PM ( 1 year ago )
Gonzalez's career ends with another Falcons loss
Tony Gonzalez is ready for the next chapter of his life.
9:47PM ( 1 year ago )
Professional Sports
'Scary' Archer offers huge roadblock to Hawks' semifinal quest
It wasn't quite ‘The Exorcist,’ but all it took was one quick look at Archer's game film to make Mill Creek coach Shannon Jarvis shut his eyes and turn away.
7:20PM ( 1 day from now )
VIDEO: Races won, Champions crowned in NASCAR finales at Homestead
After 10 months, 35 races, nine elimination races, a lot of racing and just as much drama, it all came down to the final restart. Kyle Busch surged ahead of leader Brad Keselowski with just seven laps left in Sunday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and sped away to not only score the victory, but to clinch his first career Sprint Cup Series championship.
2:00PM ( 4 hours ago )
Girls basketball: West Hall closes Florida tourney with win
The West Hall girls basketball team notched a 53-42 win over TR Miller High of Brewton, Ala., on Wednesday in the Emerald Coast Thanksgiving Classic tournament in Ft. Walton Beach.
By AccessWDUN Staff
12:00PM ( 6 hours ago )
Pressure Cooker: SEC coaches face unyielding pressure to win
Georgia coach Mark Richt seems to be under constant scrutiny, and it has intensified since the Bulldogs (8-3) were knocked out of the title chase by rival Florida...
11:16AM ( 6 hours ago )
Mann, Frazier help Georgia hold off High Point 49-46
It's Thanksgiving not Halloween, but Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox was sure the Bulldogs were waking the dead with their 49-46 win over High Point Wednesday.
By The Associated Press
11:50PM ( 18 hours ago )