CINCINNATI — Andy Dalton spent two days on the same practice fields as Eli Manning.
The Bengals hope that something rubbed off on him.
The Bengals and the New York Giants wrapped up two days of combined practices on Wednesday in preparation for their preseason opener on Friday night at Paul Brown Stadium.
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis saw it as an opportunity for Dalton — entering his fifth season — to learn from a two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback.
The Bengals also had combined practices in Atlanta in 2012 before their preseason game against the Falcons.
“To me, it’s exciting because we had our quarterback a few years ago get to watch how Matt Ryan did things,” Lewis said. “The same thing now. He gets a chance with Eli. Those guys have some years on Andy, so he has a chance to take away some good thoughts from them.”
The main thing for Dalton is to figure out how to finally win a game in the playoffs like Manning. He’s led the Bengals to the playoffs each of his first four seasons — Baltimore’s Joe Flacco is the only other quarterback to do that during the Super Bowl era — but is 0-4 in those games.
Dalton met Eli at the Manning family’s quarterback camp when he was at TCU.
“So I kind of got to know them a little bit,” Dalton said. “With Eli, I’ve been around him a couple times. I know Archie pretty well. I don’t know Peyton as well as the other two. It’s a good family. Obviously a great football family. Eli, he’s been a quarterback that he’s been fun to watch winning a couple Super Bowls and stuff.”
Dalton and the offense looked much better in practice on Wednesday, a day after the starters repeatedly fumbled, botched snaps, overthrew receivers and dropped passes. Receiver Marvin Jones, who had missed practice the past few days because of soreness, got in with the first unit and made several nice catches.
“The final stage of the process is for me to take hits and score touchdowns and do all the things I can do,” said Jones, who missed last season with a broken foot and an injured ankle.
The Bengals’ biggest disappointment of the two days: AJ McCarron couldn’t practice. McCarron is competing with Josh Johnson for the No. 2 job, but strained some muscles on a throw during a workout on Monday. He’s being held out as a precaution and isn’t likely to play in the game on Friday.
McCarron missed all of his rookie season with a sore shoulder, but has been throwing the ball well during training camp.
“My shoulder is great,” McCarron said on Wednesday. “My shoulder has never felt better than it has as long as I can remember. People don’t need to worry about my shoulder. It’s just a minor setback.”
McCarron had hoped to use the practices and the first preseason game to show he’s ready to claim the job.
“Most of the guys and coaches said they feel like I’ve done a good job showing what I can do,” McCarron said. “There’s no reason to take a risk on delaying that (healing) process. I’m bummed out over it, but I’m taking their advice and doing what they tell me to do.”
Notes: WR A.J. Green suited up but didn’t participate in 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills. Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said Green has some soreness and was held out as a precaution. … RB Jeremy Hill was tackled at the end of a play by Brad Bars. Hill popped up and threw the football at Bars’ legs, but the defensive end walked away. … Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther liked the way his unit performed during the two practices. Plus, everything was peaceful. “There wasn’t any fights, no brawls or anything like that, so that was good,” Guenther said.
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