For the first time this year, the Cincinnati Bengals will kickoff with a 4 p.m. start when they host the New York Jets. The game itself should conclude around 7:30 p.m. During a traditional week, the team comes in on Monday to get treatment and watch film, then are given Tuesday off while the coaches game plan for their next opponent.
Not this week.
When the game against the Jets concludes this Sunday, the team will turnaround and begin preparations for the Miami Dolphins, starting with Monday's practice heading into their lone Thursday Night game of the season. Making matters is worse is that the Bengals will be traveling to Miami following Wednesday's practice.
"We get a little bit of an unfair deal with a 4 o'clock game," Lewis said after Friday's practice via Bengals.com. "Nobody makes sense."
The Bengals host the Jets Sunday afternoon, practice on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and following Wednesday's session, board a plane for Miami on Thursday Night Football.
"You just want the players (after the game) to get the carbs and recovery things quicker. Get the body iced down and recovered," coach Marvin Lewis said via the Cincinnati Enquirer. "They don’t have a chance to get it done Monday, so we have to move forward with it. Monday morning we’ll get a good movement, yoga-type work to get the lactic acid out of the muscles."
It's not like the Bengals aren't prepared for it, nor inexperienced about it, writes Joe Reedy with the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Most of the game plan for the Dolphins game has been done but will be honed by the coaching staff on Monday morning. This is the third time in the past four years the Bengals have had a Sunday home game and then have to go on the road for a Thursday night game.
As for the Dolphins, Miami will play at New England Sunday with a scheduled 1 p.m. kickoff, then return home that night to host the Bengals later this week.
It would seem like a better solution if the league coordinates a team's bye week preceding their Thursday Night game starting in the middle of the season. This will give teams ample time to recover from their previous game, plus enhance a Thursday Night contest that's already viewed as sloppy from the lack of preparation and players still dealing with soreness without a full week of treatment. Obviously this makes less sense at the beginning and end of the season, but at least helps curb the hypocrisy that the league makes when they're actively promoting "safety".