HONOLULU — There is a missing link at the Pro Bowl for the Bengals and there are two more guys out here that you can add to the list of people that think left tackle Andrew Whitworth should be on the team.
And one of them made it instead of Whitworth, Cleveland’s left tackle Joe Thomas. Also here are the Jets’ D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Denver's Ryan Clady despite stats that would suggest otherwise.
“I’m not sure why he doesn’t get voted in; he’s one of those guys that’s deserving every year,” Thomas said. “You look at the tackles in the AFC and we’re very strong. It’s a question every year who is going to get in. I think Andrew deserves to be here.”
But at 6-7, 311 pounds, that doesn’t mean Thomas emulates the 6-7, 335-pound Whitworth.
“I watch him and respect him, but I wouldn’t try to do the things that he does because he’s so much bigger than I am,” Thomas said. “He wipes them out. I can’t do the things he does because of how big he is. He’s a great athlete, but we’ve got two different kinds of technique.”
The other guy, San Francisco's Justin Smith, played a few snaps against Whitworth earlier this season.
“He’s big as hell and you can’t teach big as hell,” Smith said. “Whit’s a hell of a player. He can move, too. I would think he’s a top left tackle in the league.”
Smith, who played with Whitworth for two years, compares him to former Bengals right tackle Willie Anderson. Anderson went to four straight Pro Bowls starting in his eighth season.
“It’s the same thing with Willie Anderson for all those years,” Smith said. “Once he gets over here, he’ll be here for 10 years.”
Sounds familiar. Smith didn’t make it until his ninth season and he’s made the last three.
GAME PLAN: On Friday, Dalton made it pretty clear that he’s going to go to his guys if wide receiver
Dalton needs some familiarity because they haven’t done anything even half speed. He doesn’t really know what to expect. He says he’s got no timing with the other receivers.
“Not at all. You just hope they run the right depth. Everybody out here is just jogging through it all,” Dalton said. “A good thing is it’s a lot of the terminology we use, so I’ll know what’s going on. I would think if (Green and Gresham) are out there with me, they can expect to get the ball.
“It’s been nice to relax. Practices have been short and sweet.”
REWARDS TIME: There was a defensive tackle in a Bengals jersey at the AFC practice Friday and it wasn’t
Atkins wore his No. 97 AFC gamer for picture day. It was Kevin Carrico of Simon Kenton High School wearing Green’s No. 18. And mom Marge in Jermaine Gresham’s No. 84 and dad Jeff in Dalton’s No. 14. Sister Katie has a Peyton Manning jersey, but she knew she couldn’t wear it.
“We had trouble finding Geno’s,” said Jeff, but it’s the only glitch in a trip that has been pretty much golden.
When Jeff tweeted Atkins and Green they were going to be at Friday’s practice as part of Kevin’s trip with the Make a Wish program and were hoping to visit, he got responses they would try and they came through in a post-practice session that included autographs from all four.
“Kevin had a tough time deciding what he wanted his wish to be,” Marge said. “This tied everything into together. We’re big Bengals fans and this is a vacation. We’ve never been to Hawaii.”
The Independence, Ky., family is celebrating Kevin being in remission since September as he fights Hodgkin’s lymphoma. And the plan is to stay in their Waikiki Beach hotel to watch the Super Bowl a week after watching the Fab Four in the Pro Bowl on Sunday.
“Finding food with my brother. We go out to eat a lot. There’s great food,” Kevin said of some of the highlights, but there won’t be anything like Friday.
“We’re trying to get Ray Lewis’s autograph, too,” Jeff confessed. “He’s really a great player. I was rooting for them to beat the Patriots.”
Lewis is no tougher than his son. In order to realize his goal of playing Senior Night at Simon Kenton in the next-to-last-game of the year, Kevin doubled his chemotherapy treatments over a two-week period in August and asked (“insisted," Jeff says) to have a pick line taken out of his shoulder in August instead of October.
After a week of practice he was standing on the sidelines at Senior Night with the crowd chanting for him to get into the game. When he did with seven minutes left there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
All this while keeping up his grades in his AP classes that have put him eighth in his class with a 3.99 GPA.
“Very proud. Very proud,” Marge said.
And the year has now been topped off with the Green autograph. He’s been his favorite since probably the draft.
“He’s a rookie and he came in and the team was so much better,” Kevin said.