Generally speaking the fourth and final preseason game of the year means that starters will see their most limited action to date, reducing their workload heading into the regular season opener while allowing position battles to resolve themselves and giving coaches one final look before making a final judgment on the final quarter of the team's roster. There are still 23 players that this team needs to release -- one on Monday by 4 PM and the other 22 before August 31.
However according to starting quarterback Andy Dalton, the starters will play the first series in the preseason finale against the Indianapolis Colts this Thursday. Head coach Marvin Lewis isn't expected to play the starters much, and those already injured aren't going to tough it out for one final preseason game.
"We're not going to be stupid tough, dumb tough right now,' Lewis said. "We're kind of going to bite the bullet and make sure we get to where we need to get to."
Some of those players he's talking about includes starting middle linebacker Rey Maualuga, tight end Jermaine Gresham, running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis and defensive end Robert Geathers. Maualuga and Green-Ellis are on the field Sunday in pads. Carlos Dunlap remains a question mark but he's currently working on the side. On the other hand the team could see three returning cornerbacks this Thursday:
- Rookie cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, after testing his knee again on Sunday, is reportedly going to go full speed this week preparing for his first preseason game against the Colts.
- Cornerback Adam Jones is also planning to play this Thursday, even get a shot to return punts. However according to Joe Reedy, Jones is on the practice field but doesn't look like he's doing "any team or individual drills." However Geoff Hobson updates that Jones actually "went through some of the drills."
- Cornerback Jason Allen is also expected to make his preseason debut against the Colts, however he wasn't seen early during Sunday's practice.
Kyle Cook and Emmanuel Lamur appear to be sitting out of Sunday's practice, as is Dontay Moch. Defensive tackle Pat Sims is also unaccounted for, solidifying the belief that he's headed for Reserve/PUP (which would give the team a roster exemption).