Lewis knows his core: For what was publicized as the Bengals preseason scrimmage, there was little scrimmaging going on Saturday.

The first-team offense and defense only went against each other in live tackling action for three goal-line plays. That's it. Thanks for coming.

All part of the plan for Marvin Lewis, who's not concerned with the known quantities and would rather leave the days of 40-play scrimmages in the past. That meant the only live full-field drive came between third-stringers.

“We kind of know who our guys are,” Lewis said. “It's important to make sure we don't overexpose those guys. Smarter is better. I tried to get some of the young guys some good work.”

Aaron Brown makes impact: The big play of the day came from RB Aaron Brown , cut by Detroit this offseason. He broke containment around the left side and cutback for a 33-yard touchdown run.

While the TD was nice, perhaps his most important moment in practice came during punt return when he dove to tap a bouncing punt back over the goal line to the 2-yard line. Brown can break all the long runs he'd like, but in a crowded backfield with few spots available, his ticket to making the 53-man roster will be special teams.

“Pretty much a lot of people can play offense or defense, but there are only a select few that want to play special teams,” Brown said. “They have been asking me to do a lot, which is a good thing.”

Meeting the goal: While a short set of snaps, the goal-line portion of the live scrimmage did offer an encouraging glimpse for the defense.

On six snaps between the first and second teams, only once did the offense score a touchdown. This came as redemption for a group that struggled in the short-yardage during Tuesday's practice. Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer left especially pleased.

Last year, despite finishing with the seventh overall defense in the NFL, the Bengals were 25th in red-zone stop percentage and 18th in goal-to-go percentage. Those are the only major categories they didn't finish in the top half of the league.

“We put some emphasis on it,” Zimmer said. “It’s really all about getting your pads down and going. We talked after the last goal-line session that we have to do better.”

Disappointing showing: RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis was brought to Cincinnati to improve the team's short-yardage efficiency. Only converting one of three goal-line runs into touchdowns wasn't what he envisioned. And he wasn't afraid to express his disappointment for the first time in camp.

"Our mindset has got to be that we are going to dominate and we are going to score," the former Patriots running back said. "We want to score touchdowns, not field goals. Nothing against the kicker Mike [Nugent] or anything, but when coach puts us out on the field as an offensive unit it's to get six points, not three. Any time we don't come away with six I am highly upset. That's just going to be me and that's how it's going to be until the day I die."

Nugent on target: K Mike Nugent missed the first weekend of practice with a tweaked hamstring but didn't appear phased going through special teams Saturday. He split the uprights from 35, 40, 46 and 52 yards without a miss.

If there were any concerns about Nugent's health, they are now gone.

Filing in: The Bengals enjoyed the largest crowd of the training camp season Saturday for one of the training camp's signature event. More than 6,000 filled Paul Brown Stadium for the one-hour practice.

The previous high came Thursday when 2,900 came to a night practice in the stadium. The rest of the practices took place on the fields adjacent the stadium and only filled to the capacity of 1,600 one time.

Follow Paul Dehner Jr. for Bengals updates from training camp at @CBSSportsNFLCIN.