Bengals notebook: Preparation remains the same for Lewis

Ralph N. Paulk
| Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, 6:27 p.m.

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis can't shake an unimpressive postseason past. So, he's been defensive all week as the Bengals prepare for their third matchup with the Steelers this season in the AFC wild-card game Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium.

Lewis said he isn't going to do anything out of the ordinary. And he's not trying to shake things up to get his first playoff win in seven tries.

“I don't think we change much of what we do,” he said. “Every one is a different situation; the health of your football team, when you play, where you play, it all changes. I think our guys understand how to prepare, and we're not going to alter much from what we've done all season.

“I think the players want to be in the same spot. They've earned the opportunity to be in this spot. You don't want to shortchange that. They know what's on the line. They're one of 12 teams now, and after this weekend, it goes down to eight quickly. They understand the urgency of that.”

“Players don't go into that,” Lewis added. “I think other people do. We don't have enough time for that. You look around and there are 20 new guys from a year ago, and 40 from two years ago. I don't think there is a ‘here we go again' feeling.”

The Bengals are following Lewis' lead. They talked openly about the past, but insisted it's a new day here.

“This is a new slate. This is the playoffs,” wide receiver Marvin Jones said. “We just got to go out there and do what we do. The past is the past; it's whatever.”

“It's all in the past, and there's nothing we can do about it,” tight end Tyler Eifert said. “Whether we won or lost in the past isn't going to help us on Saturday.”

No distractions

Cincinnati offensive coordinator Hue Jackson has been mentioned as a candidate for a couple of job openings, but he won't allow it to distract the Bengals' preparation for the Steelers.

“Those things are not the Pittsburgh Steelers. That's all I can prepare for,” Jackson said. “All this is talk, and it's great talk. I appreciate everything that's been said. Again, anything that happens for me is not because of me. It's because of, one, the leadership of Marvin Lewis; two, the players I've been put in charge to coach and; three, the coaching staff that I've been working with.

“I've been through it. It's flattering, but at the same time that has nothing to do with beating Pittsburgh, and being prepared for Pittsburgh. That's all you can do right now. You can't do anything else. I'm not interviewing any place with them before Saturday, that's for sure.”

Jackson has been linked to a handful of coaching vacancies, including AFC North rival Cleveland where Mike Pettine was fired following a 28-12 loss to the Steelers on Sunday.

Injury report

The Bengals placed defensive tackle Brandon Thompson (knee) on injured reserve, and signed defensive tackle DeShawn Williams from the practice squad. Quarterback Andy Dalton and H-back Ryan Hewitt (knee) didn't practice while cornerback Leon Hall (concussion, back) returned to full practice.

Facing Brown

The Bengals said there are no tricks to stopping Steelers receiver Antonio Brown, who had 13 catches for 134 yards in the teams' two regular-season games.

“It isn't about the schemes,” cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick said. “It's about going out there and playing with the bigger heart. You know he has a great heart. He's a great competitor. He competes throughout the game. We have to go out there and compete better than him.”

Ralph N. Paulk is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rpaulk@tribweb.com or via Twitter @RalphPaulk_Trib.

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