Bengals corners continue to confound Eli Manning

CINCINNATI -- For the second straight day, the Cincinnati Bengals' cornerbacks blanketed Eli Manning's receivers in coverage during a joint practice.

On Tuesday, it was Dre Kirkpatrick who turned heads when he jumped in front of a New York Giants receiver to snatch a pass that resulted in a pick-6. Wednesday, Adam Jones earned his share of attention when he recorded back-to-back pass deflections during an end-of-day two-minute drill.

Plays like those had the Bengals' defensive coordinator beaming.

"This guy knows where to go with the ball," Paul Guenther said, referring to Manning. "There's no hesitation. If we're breaking up balls from him it's good because the ball's coming out quick; he knows where to go with the ball."

Guenther credited his cornerbacks for their suffocating coverage that led to so many throws being contested. Backup Chris Lewis-Harris also got into the action, deflecting his share of passes throughout the day.

It was on Tuesday, the day Kirkpatrick picked off one of Manning's throws in a one-on-one drill, that the three-time Pro Bowler complimented the Bengals' secondary on its cover ability.

"'Pacman,' Kirkpatrick, both those guys are good at press coverage," Manning said. "The one-on-ones, that was good for our one-on-one, just going against different corners and different techniques. There were a lot of contested throws and guys going for the ball. That's what you want."

Here are other observations from Wednesday:

  • In addition to sharp play from their defenders, the Bengals were looking for improved play from their offense following a sloppy day Tuesday. Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said his unit did, in fact, play better. "It was a better practice," Jackson said. "It had a better feel to it. The energy was good. Eric Winston did a hell of a job. Our quarterback took charge and our guys played better."

  • The offense's play in 11-on-11 drills came with several starters missing in action. Although they participated in individual drills, A.J. Green, Clint Boling and Andre Smith didn't go through the 11-on-11s. Veteran Andrew Whitworth didn't even practice. Each of them was simply taking time off as they ease back into playing daily again. "Some guys are going to get a little sore, and to me, that's the time to protect guys," Jackson said, adding that none of the offensive injuries looked serious.

  • Backup lineman T.J. Johnson went into Boling's spot at left guard during the 11s, while Winston filled in at right tackle with Smith sidelined. Whitworth was replaced by rookie Jake Fisher.

  • In addition to Whitworth, quarterback AJ McCarron and corner Brandon Ghee didn't practice. McCarron's status for Friday's preseason opener with the Giants remains uncertain.