Traditionally for the so-called dress rehearsal, the closest thing of a regular season game we'll see in the preseason, first-team units usually play the entire first half and a series or two into the third quarter -- the idea/practice gets players accustomed to playing the first half, resting and adjusting during halftime, and then coming out into the third quarter.
According to head coach Marvin Lewis, via Bengals.com, that won't happen this year.
"Lewis has ruled out going with quarterback Andy Dalton and his first team into the second half," writes Geoff Hobson. "In his four previous preseasons, Dalton has twice played into the third quarter in the third game, but Lewis doesn't want to see his starters again this year until the Sept. 13 regular-season opener in Oakland."
The first-team offense played the first series against the New York Giants, piecing together a flawless drive that resulted in Andy Dalton's three-yard touchdown throw to Mohamed Sanu. Yet, during ESPN's Monday Night Football, the offense struggled, accumulating -2 yards in the first quarter and turning the ball over three times in the second.
"(Lewis) would like to see more production before they go, particularly on third down after Dalton's unit went 1-for-6 Monday night in Tampa," writes Hobson.
Excluding the knee prior to half-time against the Buccaneers, the Bengals first-team offense has conducted eight possessions resulting in 10 points (a touchdown and field goal), 10 first downs, three punts and three turnovers. You have to suspect that if this doesn't improve against the Bears, Lewis may fight the urge to keep his first-team offense on the field for another period.