Updated: 2:55 p.m.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is juggling three balls in the air as he preps for the club's Thursday's 7 p.m. preseason finale against the Colts (11:35 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) at Paul Brown Stadium.
"It's a three-fold event," Lewis said Tuesday after the team's only full-scale practice of the week.
"The mindset is it's a great night for our fans. It's another home game. It's a fun thing, and we'll have our guys get out there and let them play a little bit, get them out, and let the other guys finish the game up that are fighting for spots. (And) there are guys who haven't played much who'll be on the 53-man roster that need experience."
Those that haven’t played much this preseason because of injury but figure to be here next week are going to get plenty of work against the Colts, such as offensive lineman
And, of course, the guys fighting for their football lives, such as
Lewis says he won't be surprised if someone wins a spot in that last game. It happened three years ago when running back
But then, some guys on the bubble that didn't play in the finale made it. You have to go back to 2006 and running back DeDe Dorsey. He didn't play with an injury, but made it on the strength of a 7.5-yards per carry average and a 59-yard catch out of the backfield.
Whatever, Lewis says nothing is final until Saturday at 6 p.m., the deadline for final cuts.
"We've had guys each year play their way onto the team; that's the fun of the preseason," Lewis said of the finale. "No way it's a throwaway game. You've made decisions, but the final decisions haven't been made because you don't have to yet."
It will be interesting to see what decision Lewis makes with quarterback
GENO Ts OFF: Two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle
Tuesday's highlight was defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer pulling the orange T-shirt over his Bengals T-shirt after practice.
"I told him to give me one," Zimmer said. "Celebrity status."
Which is why everyone was giving Atkins heat because he doesn't act like a celebrity even though he's the best defensive tackle in football.
"This is out of the box for Geno. A.J. Green does it all the time. Geno is going Hollywood," said Gilberry, which is funny because Green also avoids the spotlight.
"I don't have a T-shirt. See my shirt? It's a V-neck," Green said.
Atkins said he was approached about the idea and, "I thought it was funny with the officer and the big arms. I said, why not? Add to the résumé. A T-shirt. Check that. Went to the ESPYs. Check that."
Laughs and good-natured kidding aside, no one is objecting to Atkins going through his bucket list.
"I think it's a cool shirt," Gilberry said. "I'm going to wear it to support my fellow defensive lineman and teammate."
J.K. TEMPERS HOPES: Here's why linebacker J.K. Schaffer is taking life on the bubble with a grain of salt. Last year when he was a rookie and leading the Jaguars in preseason tackles, he was told that last week he was going to make it.
Then the final cuts came and he didn't.
"It wasn't fun; tough situation," Schaffer said this week. "I've learned not to get my hopes up."
Now a year later in his hometown, the LaSalle High School grad is tied with rookie safety
"It's not my first rodeo. (This) is not an easy week," Schaffer said. "No, I don't know where I'll be next week. I hope it's here. But you have to put that stuff aside and go play ball. I think I've put myself in position. I think I've done everything I can to this point. As tough as it is, you can't think about it, you have to go play."
SLANTS AND SCREENS» Right tackle Andre Smith said before Tuesday's practice that the plan is for him to be ready for the Sept. 8 regular-season opener in Chicago after he tweaked his knee Saturday night in Atlanta.
"I feel a lot better than I did a day ago," Smith said.
» Before practice Tuesday the Bengals made six roster moves to get down to the maximum 75 players.
They put fourth-round pick
Pressley was on the side Tuesday working with rehab trainer Nick Cosgray, as was wide receiver