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Bengals add new twist to OTAs

“Drop and give me 20!” That was the motto of Bengals OTAs on Tuesday.

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During Tuesday’s OTA session in Cincinnati, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis decided to introduce a new element to the no-contact, no-pads practice.

Lewis accounted for good and bad plays by the offense and the defense, and after every few set of plays, he declared a winning and losing unit.

The losing unit was responsible for doing push-ups while the winning unit got to stand by and watch.

“It brings a focus, a heightened awareness to it,” offensive coordinator Ken Zampese told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Everybody’s competitive. When you make a competition more public, the better you get out of each guy and the more focus out of each guy. That’s a good thing. It’s fun.”

Both the offense and defense had one "win" and one set of push ups to do. And seemingly, Bengals players responded well to the added competition.

“I love that idea,” linebacker Vinny Rey said, via My Dayton Daily News. “Whether it’s push-ups or whatever it is, we hate to lose. When the offense is doing push-ups, it reminds them that they lost and that we’re better.”

Quarterback Andy Dalton thinks Lewis needs to go back and review the plays he deemed to be part of the loss for the offense.

“We need to get Marvin on that one because I think the offense did better than the defense in a couple of these other ones today, so they would have been doing a couple more pushups,” Dalton said smiling.

Though, Jay Morrison of My Dayton Daily News did write the beginning of Tuesday's OTA session was a sloppy one for the offense and featured many dropped passes, errant throws, a false start and a bad shotgun snap. Of note, quarterback AJ McCarron was missing for unknown reasons so the No. 2 quarterback on the field was Jeff Driskel.

“We lost the second one, which sucks,” Rey added. “You want to finish with a win. When I’m doing push-ups, I hate it because I know that I lost. So I try to do whatever I can to help my team win on the practice field. I don’t want to be the reason we lost.”

Rey’s attitude is terrific and similarly, it sounds like Dalton is enjoying the competition and opportunity to improve. OTAs are all about setting a foundation for success, learning the playbook, getting players on the same page, and setting expectations for the season.

“There might have been a couple of things out there that weren’t on the same page,” Dalton said. “There was some new stuff that we’re kind of getting used to. I thought we competed and I thought we made some plays. Some of that stuff (mistakes) is going to happen, now’s the time that you want to correct it and understand exactly where guys need to be and different things. But I thought today went well though.”

The Bengals have two more OTA sessions this week before three days of mandatory minicamp next week.